Appledore RNLI President: We could not let the crew down

Lifeboats News Release

Appledore RNLI President went above and beyond his duties to raise money for his lifeboat station.

Matt Rowe

Appledore RNLI President, son and friends arrive at Appledore RNLI after a 51 mile sponsored cycle ride for the station

On Sunday 26th August, in absolutely horrendous conditions, Appledore RNLI President Rupert Gibson, together with son Alfie Gibson and friends Steve Clements, Alex Orttewell, Andrew Jackson and Tom Jackson, cycled 51 miles from Minehead to Appledore Lifeboat Stations as a precursor to the full Tour de Yellow Welly sponsored cycle ride which takes place on Saturday 1st September – a full 100+ mile circular route to raise money for Appedore RNLI. They left Minehead accompanied by three of the Tour de Yellow Welly Riders, crew members Richard Withey the event organiser, Del Elsemore and Robbie Ward, who broke away at Simonsbath to continue their own training back to Minehead ready for next week.

‘It was a long hard drag from Minehead to Weddon Cross’, with sheeting rain as they approached Simonsbath. The route has ‘some really steep hills – they are killers’ the riders explained. ‘The road onwards from Challercombe was underwater and we would have been better on a boat’ they joked. Rupert, our President, went on to say that the rain was unbelievable ‘Just bucketing’. One of the hardest parts was the Tarka Trail between Barnstaple and Bideford where the pot holes were so full of water you could not see them and the wind was relentless head on.

The rain started just before they got going at 8.30 in the morning and they were all soaked through within the first three miles. They arrived in Appledore around 2 pm.

When asked why they cycled in these conditions, Rupert’s response was: ‘We couldn’t let you guys down. We made a promise and there was no other day we could all get together to do the ride, so we just did it’.

Enormous thanks to them on a day when the Tour de Yellow Welly Fundraising surpassed £5000. The fundraising has already made enough money to kit out a new volunteer boat crew member and provide the costs for the first year’s basic training. They are now on their way to covering the costs of a second person.

Tremendous thanks to Rupert, Alfie and their friends and we hope they suffer no long lasting ill effects from their ‘horrendous’ ordeal.

The easiest way to donate to the Tour de Yellow Welly Appledore RNLI fundraising appeal is via our Just Giving Page: The more we raise the more lives we can save.

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, in a normal year, 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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Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.