No time off for Louise and Anstruther RNLI this festive season
The Christmas food orders are flooding into RNLI volunteer and butcher Louise Whiteman, but the same cannot be said for donations for the RNLI who are facing the Perfect Storm this Christmas.
Louise, a volunteer crew member at Anstruther, is busy preparing all the Christmas food orders in the butchers shop a few hundred metres along the shore from the lifeboat station and is willing to respond to the pager, even at the busiest of times.
Louise, who has volunteered at the station for 3 and a half years, said: ‘This is a busy time for me at work with the added pressure of ensuring everyone’s Christmas food orders are ready on time. I am one of the closest to the station when at work and will respond if the pager goes to help those in need’.
Whilst RNLI crew members become even busier over the festive period, the RNLI itself is also facing its own ‘perfect storm’ as demands on its lifesaving service increase and donations, especially legacy gifts, drop.
During the festive period* last year, RNLI volunteers, across the UK and Ireland, launched to the rescue 155 times compared with just 21 call outs in 1979. During the festive periods dating back to 1979 RNLI volunteers have rescued 1,453 people and saved 299 lives.
Louise follows in the footsteps of her grandfather, Peter Murray MBE, who served as a volunteer at Anstruther for 32 years and was coxswain for over 19 years. Things have changed considerably since Peter joined over 55 years ago but what remains is that people are still drowning around the coast of the UK and Ireland. The cost to reduce this number and to run a lifesaving charity does not match the amount the charity receives each year in donations.
To ensure the RNLI can continue its lifesaving work this Christmas and into the future, the charity is running a major fundraising appeal, The Perfect Storm, with the aim of raising £1.8M and recruiting 12,000 new supporters.
Talking about the Perfect Storm, Louise urges the public to donate to the RNLI this Christmas and help us reduce drowning around our coasts. Louise said: ‘Approximately 150 people drown each year in UK and Irish waters. That is 150 too many. Donate to the RNLI and help us continue to save lives at sea’.
Notes to editors
*Festive period calculated from 24 Dec – 1 Jan
Scotland only stats - Over the festive period in 2018, Scottish stations, launched 11 times and aided 5 people. Since 1979, Scottish lifeboat stations have launched 414 times in the festive period, saved 51 lives and aided 216 people.
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.