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Southend lifeboat crew meet couple with driving ambition to support the RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Crew members at Southend Lifeboat Station welcomed an unusual visitor yesterday (Aug 23) when a Porsche sports car, decked out in the RNLI colours of orange and blue, arrived on the seafront as part of an epic fund-raising tour of the charity’s stations.

James and Belinda Richardson pictured with Southend crew members (left to right) Tony Clarke (visits team) David Cartright (trainee helm and hovercraft pilot) Tony Bonham (D class helm and hovercraft commander) Alex Gibson (trainee helm and hovercraft pilot) and Sean Pearse (helm and hovercraft commander).

RNLI/Paul Dunt

James and Belinda Richardson pictured with Southend crew members (left to right) Tony Clarke (visits team) David Cartright (trainee helm and hovercraft pilot) Tony Bonham (D class helm and hovercraft commander) Alex Gibson (trainee helm and hovercraft pilot) and Sean Pearse (helm and hovercraft commander).

Belinda and James Richardson aim to drive the Porsche 911 anti-clockwise around the whole of the UK and the Republic of Ireland, visiting all 238 lifeboat stations within 911 hours. The couple hope to raise more than £238 per lifeboat station visited, with a target of raising more than £56,000 for the RNLI by the end of their journey.

Their marathon drive began at Teddington Lifeboat Station on the Thames at 9.11am yesterday and Southend was their first visit to a coastal station.

James said they got the idea for the fund-raising adventure after watching the BBC2 series ‘Saving Lives at Sea’ which features RNLI volunteers carrying out dramatic rescues. A third series of the series began on BBC2 this week (Tuesday August 21).

‘We’ve always been fans of the RNLI and we love the British coastline,’ explained Belinda. ‘What the volunteers do is so incredible. We are both retired and this is our way of putting something back’.

The couple have already experienced how busy the RNLI’s stations can be. When they arrived at Chiswick Lifeboat Station on the way to Southend, the crew were dashing out on a shout as they arrived.

‘It couldn’t be going better,’ said James, who described how the challenge had taken more than 10 months to organise. ‘We haven’t got lost yet!’

During their journey James and Belinda will be making 36 ferry crossings to reach some of the charity’s most remote stations and if all goes to plan they will end their drive at the RNLI’s busiest station, Tower Lifeboat Station on the Thames, on Sunday September 30.

For more information check out the 911 challenge social media links:

http://www.rnli-911challenge.co.uk

https://www.instagram.com/rnli_911_challenge/

https://twitter.com/rnli_911

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rnli-911challenge

Photo captions:

Photo 1: James and Belinda Richardson pictured with Southend crew members (left to right) Tony Clarke (visits team) David Cartright (trainee helm and hovercraft pilot) Tony Bonham (D class helm and hovercraft commander) Alex Gibson (trainee helm and hovercraft pilot) and Sean Pearse (helm and hovercraft commander).

Photo 2: Belinda and James Richardson.

Photo 3: The couple prepare to leave Southend to travel to their next stop – Burnham-on-Crouch RNLI station.

RNLI Media contacts

  • Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East), 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk

  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit http://www.rnli.org/. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre.

Belinda and James Richardson.

RNLI/Paul Dunt

Belinda and James Richardson.
The couple prepare to leave Southend to travel to their next stop – Burnham-on-Crouch RNLI station.

RNLI/Paul Dunt

The couple prepare to leave Southend to travel to their next stop – Burnham-on-Crouch RNLI station.

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

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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