Saturday 1 September - Tour De Yellow Welly

Lifeboats News Release

Appledore RNLI puts out its own SOS to help Sponsor Our Station

RNLI/Snapdragon Photography Bideford

Appledore RNLI Tour de Yellow Welly Team
Appledore RNLI has responded to 47 emergency shouts already this year (28/8/18), and has saved nine people from imminent danger of drowning over the summer. As a charity, the RNLI rely on donations to fund the training and equipment the volunteer crew need to do their lifesaving role. On Saturday 1 September members of Appledore Lifeboat crew will embark on a huge fundraising challenge: The Tour de Yellow Welly. Organiser of the event, volunteer crew member Richard Withey, is asked what this event is all about.

Q What exactly is the Tour de Yellow Welly?

A. Around twelve members of the Appledore RNLI crew, and friends, are going to cycle a gruelling circular route of approximately 110 miles from Appledore to Minehead Lifeboat Stations and back across Exmoor in the same day, Saturday 1 September 2018, to fundraise for Appledore RNLI.

Q How challenging is this route?

A The route will include the 1 in 4 climb up the 1.9 mile Countisbury Hill and incorporate, as far as possible, the route of the memorable Lifeboat launch where in 1899, unable to launch from Lynmouth, in one of the worst storms the Bristol Channel has experienced, the lifeboat was manhandled from Lynmouth to Porlock where it could launch.

We will leave Appledore Lifeboat Station at 7.30 am and will cycle through Barnstaple, Blackmore Gate, Lynmouth, Countisbury Hill, and Porlock to arrive at Minehead around midday. The route back includes Dunster, Widdon Cross, Exford, Simonsbath, Bratton Fleming and Barnstaple to arrive back at Appledore RNLI at around 5.30 pm. Non cycling Appledore Lifeboat crew will be driving support vehicles and help ensure the riders safety on the day.

We plan to cycle all the way and will be very disappointed if we need to walk any of the hills, however daunting.

Q Why are you doing this?

A. It costs over £500O to kit out each crew member with all-weather and inshore lifeboat crew protection gear and provide their initial first year training. We have already raised enough money to pay for at least one new crew member to join, train and go on with the RNLI tradition of saving lives at sea. We are now on the way to paying for a second. The more money we can raise, the more lives we can save. We have tried to make the way of donating as easy as possible and have set up a Just Giving page, or people can donate by phone by dialling 70070 and texting APLB50 followed by the amount you would like to give: for a £10 donation text APLB50£10.

Q With such a tough challenge ahead of you, how are you preparing for it?

A We have been training hard since March when we came up with the idea. Initially indoors doing Spin Classes but as the weather improved we have been out on our bikes as much as possible. We all have full time jobs, attend regular weekly lifeboat training and with the better weather are responding to an increasing number of lifeboats shouts. We have to fit in rides when we can - early mornings, evenings and weekends but we always need to ensure we have enough crew back in Appledore to respond to any emergency. Most of us have now cycled over 1000 miles this summer in preparation for Saturday’s ride and we now feel ready.

We are getting great encouragement for this by all our crew and it is great to give something back to the lifeboat station for all their support. You can see how our training and fundraising is progressing on Facebook – Tour de Yellow Welly


Q How is your fundraising going?

A We have raised almost £7000 now from the public and local businesses. Our our main sponsors include Bikeshed Barnstaple, Toptown Printers, Edmonson Electrical, Halifax Bideford, Tesco South West, and staff and customers of the Beaver Inn Appledore. We thank everyonewho has already donated but if we can pay for a second crew meber that would be fantastic.


In 2017 Appledore responded to 63 emergency shouts, three of which were stood down. The annual operational cost of running Appledore RNLI locally is around £200K per year; total annual costs of £176.5M to run the RNLI. Appledore has 41 volunteer operational crew, with two full time staff. It has three boats: The all-weather lifeboat Mollie Hunt which covers from Morwenstow to Morte Point, half way across the Bristol Channel to Wales and over 100 miles out into the Atlantic, the inshore lifeboat Glanely which covers the shore line, beaches and the estuary, and the boarding boat which is also used as a lifeboat within the estuary mainly at low tide. Within the UK and Ireland there are 6183 volunteer lifeboat crew covering 238 lifeboat stations. The RNLI receives no government funding.

RNLI/Snapdragon Photography Bideford

Organiser of the Tour de Yellow Welly - Appledor RNLI crew member Richard Withey

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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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