The RNLI asks people to ‘give it some welly’ and answer the Mayday call

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea and on inland waters, is calling on people to support their volunteer lifeboat crews as Mayday, the charity’s national annual fundraising campaign, is launched.

RNLI/Colin Watson

Portrush RNLI

The launch comes as the RNLI announces its 2018 annual rescue figures. Volunteer lifeboat crews launched 283 times from its 10 lifeboat stations in Northern Ireland last year, bringing 370 people to safety. Of that figure, five people were lives saved by the direct action of the lifeboat crews. These rescues are only possible because of the donations made to the charity by supporters.

Meanwhile, the RNLI’s lifeguards who seasonally patrol 11 beaches along the Causeway Coast and in County Down, responded to 283 incidents and came to the aid of 252 people.

For the month of May, the RNLI’s Mayday campaign is asking people to ‘do their bit, fund our kit’ with the lifesaving charity hoping to raise £700,000 to fund the crucial kit volunteer lifeboat crews rely on, like lifejackets, helmets and the RNLI’s iconic yellow wellies.

Among the activities, this year’s Mayday campaign will see one well-known fundraiser who not content with running a Lap of the Map for the RNLI, will take on a new adventure to cycle around the island of Ireland for Mayday.

Veteran marathon runner Mary Nolan Hickey ran around the Irish coastline stopping off at lifeboat stations in Northern Ireland last year to raise funds for the RNLI at the age of 65. On Sunday, Mary will leave her home in Arklow, County Wicklow to cycle around the island of Ireland on her bike, this time setting off in the opposite direction and hoping to call in to all the lifeboat stations where volunteers met up with her last year, to thank them for their support.

Ahead of her next adventure, which she has named Lap of the Map 2, Mary said: ‘People think I am mad doing this but I have unfinished business for the search and rescue charity. I had no idea of the support I would get when I started but then I called into the lifeboat stations, particulary in rural coastal communities and I saw the incredible work the crew are doing and it made up my mind that I would do this encore, if I had the energy again.

‘I hope people feel inspired to do something for Mayday. If I can do it anyone can do it. There are all sorts of ways to fundraise, from wearing wellies to work or doing a sponsored welly walk, to holding a bake sale or doing a sponsored cycle ride. Anyone can register for a free fundraising pack by visiting’

Funds raised through Mayday will help kit out RNLI crews so they’re ready to face the harshest conditions at sea. It currently costs £2,161 to provide one all-weather lifeboat crew member with all the kit they need when responding to the call for help.

Nicola Kelly, RNLI Community Fundraising Manager said: ‘Our crews drop everything when their pagers go off to launch the lifeboat and head out to help those in trouble. Our lifeboat crew kit gives our volunteers the confidence to face all weathers and conditions, night or day. The right kit is vital in helping to make sure they do what they are trained to do and that they bring everyone home safely.

‘We hope people will answer the RNLI’s Mayday appeal and do something, no matter how big or small, to raise funds for the lifeboat crews in Northern Ireland. Every piece of kit on a volunteer has been funded through the generosity of people.’

Anyone who wants to get involved should visit to register for a free Mayday pack. The pack provides a host of fundraising ideas, such as encouraging friends and colleagues to plan a wear-yellow fundraiser, getting sponsored to run, walk or cycle, cooking up some yellow-themed bakes to sell or even getting together to lift the weight of a 32 tonne Tamar class lifeboat.

The charity is also encouraging people to show support on their social media, joining the conversation using the hashtag #MaydayEveryDay, or by donating online or buying a yellow welly pin badge.

Mary Nolan Hickey’s official RNLI fundraising page is


Note to Editor

2018 Lifeboat launches and rescues for Northern Ireland:

Station Launches People Aided

Bangor 36 34

Carrybridge 57 99

Donaghadee 27 53

Enniskillen 32 54

Larne 13 15

Newcastle 20 18

Portaferry 28 20

Portrush 26 23

Red Bay 30 38

Kilkeel 14 16

Total 283 370

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Nuala McAloon, Regional Media Officer on 00353 876483547 or or Niamh Stephenson, Regional Media Manager on 00353 871254124 or

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.