16.5K award for Appledore RNLI Tour de Yellow Welly Team
On Tuesday 6th November, the Appledore RNLI Tour de Yellow Welly Team were presented their own RNLI award for Fundraising from RNLI Headquarters following the handover over of a cheque for £16552.85 to the Appledore Lifeboat Station, raised through their epic sponsored cycle ride earlier this year.
On Saturday 1 September the Appledore RNLI Tour de Yellow Welly Team completed the epic 104 mile ride from Appledore to Minehead Lifeboat Stations and back in one day. The circular route through Exmoor included a total elevation height of 9136 feet, almost a third the height of Everest, including the infamous Countisbury Hill; all to raise money for Appledore RNLI.
The brainchild of Appledore RNLI new crew member Richard Withey, who also organised the event, other riders were fellow crew members Del Elesmore, Matt Rowe, Robbie Ward, Jeff Pavitt, and Carl Chessum, Appledore RNLI treasurer Robin Stoneman, and friends Greg Norman, Tori Loze, Mark Pooley, Steve Saunders and Phil Sweetland. The support team were also Appledore RNLI volunteers.
As a precursor to the full ride, 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 the 51 mile route from Minehead to Appledore Lifeboat Stations to support the crew and help increase the sponsorship income and events publicity. When asked why they cycled in these storm conditions with bucketing rain throughout their ride, Rupert’s response was: ‘We couldn’t let the 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’.
The amount raised to date by the Tour de Yellow Welly is £16,552.85, and the Just Giving Page, https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tourdeyellowwelly, is still open. Further donations will be extremely welcome. To date many local clubs and businesses, as well as over 330 individuals, have donated sums ranging from £5 to hundreds of pounds, and Appledore RNLI would like to sincerely thank every one of them. Particular gratitude should be given to Halifax, Tesco South West, Barnstaple Skittlers, customers of the Beaver Inn, Barnstaple Bowling Club, Appledore Quay Gift Shop, Tarka Springs, Bike Shed, Toptown Printers, Torridge Marine, Paul Nicholls, James Dunning, John Olding, Alex Ortowell, Steve Brine, Stephen Clements, Roberta Hughes, Jill Gibson, Mustafa Davies, and Northam Town Council.
The more money raised the more lives can be saved.
Notes to Editors:
Re: Sunday 26th August
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 took place on Saturday 1st September – a full 100+ mile circular route to raise money for Appledore RNLI. They left Minehead accompanied by three of the Tour de Yellow Welly Riders, volunteer crew members Richard Withey, the organiser of the event, Del Elsemore and Robbie Ward, who broke away at Simonsbath to continue their own training back to Minehead ready for the following 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 Gibson 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 at Appledore at around 2 pm.
When asked why they cycled in these conditions, Rupert’s response was: ‘We couldn’t let the 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’.
Re: Saturday 1 September
Saturday 1 September saw the culmination of months of training for the Appledore RNLI Tour de Yellow Welly Team when they completed the 104 mile sponsored cycle ride from Appledore to Minehead Lifeboat Stations and back in one day. The circular route through Exmoor included a total elevation height of 9136 feet, almost a third the height of Everest, including the infamous Countisbury Hill; all to raise money for Appledore RNLI.
The riders, Appledore RNLI volunteer crew members Richard Withey, Del Elesmore, Matt Rowe, Robbie Ward, Jeff Pavitt, and Carl Chessum, Appledore RNLI treasurer Robin Stoneman, and friends Greg Norman, Tori Loze, Mark Pooley, Steve Saunders and Phil Sweetland.
The team started at 7.40 am was accompanied by three support vehicles, also manned by Appledore RNLI volunteers. The first stop was Blackmoor Gate, the second, after a dip down through Lynmouth was the far side of Countisbury Hill. They reached Minehead Lifeboat Station via Porlock at around midday for a lunch stop, then up through Dunster and a massive hill climb, regrouping at Exford, and then near Exmoor Zoo before riding back to Bideford to regroup again to cycle down to Appledore as a Team arriving back together at the Lifeboat Station just before 5.30 pm.
Most of the team had cycled over 1000 miles in training for this event fitting rides between work, family life, lifeboat training and emergency shouts, starting at 5.15 am some mornings in the summer to get fit enough. Even so most found this to be a total endurance challenge. To quote one rider: ‘To have done 50 miles would have been too easy. It was the coming home that was hard, the burning and screaming pain in the legs after a hill climb made it as much a mental challenge as a physical one, but if you kept going it worked through the pain’.
Other quotes from the riders included: ‘The weather was kind, the hills were not!’ ‘Countisbury Hill – it’s a mountain!’, and ‘It was an incredible team effort for an incredible cause; just proud to be part of it’. ‘The welcome we got from the village when we got home and the support we have had locally has been brilliant, as has the amount of money raised. Thank you everyone’.
The reason for the event going so well was not only down to all the support received from the crew, the support team, and locals, but the planning and organisation put on by the event organiser, crew member and team rider 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.