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Blackpool RNLI volunteers to take on Everest

Lifeboats News Release

One of Blackpool’s longest serving RNLI volunteer crewmembers, Darren Clemson, is set to take on the challenge of a lifetime later this month when he treks to Everest Base Camp with his friend and RNLI fundraiser Chris Smith.

Chris Smith & Darren Clemson at the top of Scafell Pike during training for Everest trek


Chris Smith & Darren Clemson

Chris and Darren have been friends for more than 20 years and during that time they have taken on a number of challenges including climbing Montana Macchu Picchu in Peru in May 2016 and Ulluru in Australia in 2009.

This year marks 20 years since Darren started volunteering as a lifeboat crewmember at Blackpool lifeboat station and they decided to celebrate the milestone with their biggest challenge yet. At the end of September they will head to Nepal and trek 5643 metres to the summit of Kala Patthar which lies 279 metres above Everest Base Camp. They are hoping to raise £5000 for the RNLI through the trek and the money will go towards training for volunteer lifeboat crewmembers.

Darren knows better than most the importance of training for RNLI crewmembers, he was one of the stars of RNLI documentary 'Saving Lives at Sea' and during one episode of the hit BBC documentary he was the helm of a lifeboat that capsized in horrendous conditions whilst searching for a casualty near North Pier. Darren had no maritime training or experience before he joined the RNLI in 1996 and only survived the capsize because of the training provided to him by the charity. Like Darren most RNLI volunteers have no previous maritime training, in fact only one in ten RNLI crewmembers comes from a professional maritime background. It costs £1600 per year to train an RNLI lifeboat crewmember so the money that Darren and Chris raise really will make a difference.

Chris said, ‘Raising money for the RNLI has been a very humbling experience. People's generosity towards and fondness for the RNLI has been inspirational. A big thank you to Helen Isherwood and Rowena MacCallum at DWP, Neil Heardman at Asda Blackpool, Jason and Carol the owners of Soul Suite and Olympia Amusements for their help in getting so close to our target of raising £5000’

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact Esther Lowe, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer Blackpool on 07917091948 or email

Darren Clemson in full crew kit


Darren Clemson

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland