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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

RNLI/Blackpool

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 robbyn89@yahoo.com

Darren Clemson in full crew kit

RNLI/Blackpool

Darren Clemson

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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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 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.

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