Players at Tranmere Rovers Football Club experienced a training session with a spin last week as first team players Ritchie Sutton, Paddy Wharton and Jay Devine traded their usual football colours for the RNLI’s bright yellow lifeboat gear to encourage local fundraising.
For the first time, the RNLI has worked with Helly Hansen to design a new all-weather lifeboat kit for their selfless volunteer crew men and women.
Ritchie Sutton from Tranmere Rovers put the kit through its paces to test its increased flexibility and durability – he explains why the new kit is a score: “The RNLI’s new kit certainly made it over the line with us! It’s surprisingly flexible and lightweight – just what their crew members need for their lifesaving rescue work. The volunteer lifeboat crews are on call 24 hours a day, every day, to save lives at sea. They are true heroes.”
The RNLI’s annual Mayday fundraising campaign runs throughout May. This year, the charity aims to raise £750,000 to fund the vital lifesaving kit for their 4,800 volunteers across the UK & Ireland.
The players were joined by volunteer crew members from Hoylake lifeboat station, which was one of six lifeboat stations across the UK and the Republic of Ireland who trialled the new Helly Hansen gear earlier this year.
Peter Nicholas RNLI volunteer crew member, from Hoylake lifeboat station: 'We all depend on our kit to keep us warm, dry and safe whilst we get on with the job of saving lives at sea. Having the right kit allows us to focus on the task in hand. People can drown in in a matter of minutes, so we can’t waste time worrying that things don’t fit or don’t work to protect us from the elements. It’s why the Mayday campaign is so important, raising money to fund the essential kit we rely on every time the call comes in.'
Brian Curtin, RNLI Community Fundraising Manager for Liverpool says: 'We rely on donations from the public to help us stay on the water. This year we’re asking the public to get creative and go yellow throughout the month of May to help us raise money for our life-saving kits. Our RNLI yellow wellies cost £54 a pair, a lifejacket £458 and a safety helmet £263. Having the right kit can mean the difference between life and death – for our crews and the people they are rescuing.'
RNLI volunteers are on standby day and night, to drop everything in an instant to save lives on waterways and at sea. In 2017 these crews launched 8,436 times, aiding 8,072 people. RNLI lifeboat crews in the organisation's Wales and West region, which includes Hoylake station, launched 1,445 times, aiding 1,376 people.
To find a Mayday event near you, donate to the campaign or to download a fundraising pack, visit
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.