Tour De Yellow Welly

Lifeboats News Release

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

Snapdragon Photography, Bideford, Devon

Appledore RNLI fundraising Tour de Yellow Welly Team

Appledore RNLI has responded to 37 emergency shouts and three stand downs already this year (18/7/18), and has saved nine people from imminent danger of drowning within the last few weeks - with the schools only just breaking up for the summer holidays. As a charity, the RNLI rely on donations to fund the training and equipment the volunteer crew need to do their lifesaving role. This 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. ( see

We 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 6pm. 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 would like to raise enough money to pay for at least one more new crew member to join, train and go on with the RNLI tradition of saving lives at sea. This is double what we originally wished to raise but with the amount of training and organising which is going into the event, we have raised our target to £5000. 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. The other morning, for example, we set off at 5.15 am. At the moment we are averaging around 70 miles a week, between 30-40 miles each ride, but as our fitness and stamina improves, our rides are getting longer.

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 over £2000 now from the public but our main sponsors include Bikeshed Barnstaple, Toptown Printers, Edmonson Electrical, Halifax Bideford and staff and customers of the Beaver Inn Appledore. We thank all of them and all those who we hope will continue to donate towards our total.


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.

Snapdragon Photography, Bideford, Devon

Appledore RNLI Tour de Yellow Welly Fundraising team

Snapdragon Photography, Bideford, Devon

Appledore RNLI volunteer crew member and organiser of the Tour de Yellow Welly Richard Witheyolunteer

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.

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 by email.