Devon rallies together to answer the RNLI’s Mayday call

Lifeboats News Release

Supporters across Devon are responding to the RNLI’s Mayday call this month as the charity launches its annual fundraising campaign aiming to raise money to fund the crucial kit the volunteer crew rely on.

John Baldry

Pennywell Farm minature pigs Jessica, Jemima and Peanut supporting RNLI Mayday

Some of the county’s top attractions that make up the Devon Association of Tourist Attractions have pledged their support. This includes Pennywell Farm whose minature pigs enjoyed checking out the crew’s kit, Dart Country Park where Dart RNLI volunteers took over the pirate ship, Big Sheep who are teaming up with Appledore RNLI to host an Adults Behaving Badly night out and Clovelly where nearly 200 people will take part in the Clovelly Yellow Welly Cobble Wobble.

Launching on Wednesday 1 May and running for the whole of the month, the RNLI’s Mayday campaign asks people to ‘do their bit, fund our kit’ with the lifesaving charity hoping to raise £700,000 to fund crew kit, like lifejackets, helmets and the RNLI’s iconic yellow wellies.

Rich Eggleton and fellow volunteer crew member from Dart RNLI, along with their families took over the distinguished pirate ship at Dart Country Park. He says;

‘RNLI volunteer crew members drop everything when the pagers go off, and RNLI lifeboat crew kit gives each volunteer the confidence to face all weathers and sea conditions to help those in trouble at sea. The right kit really is vital in helping to make sure they return home safely to their families from every launch.

There are all sorts of ways to fundraise for the RNLI’s Mayday. 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

In North Devon, the Appledore RNLI fundraisers have joined forces with the Big Sheep to host an Adults Behaving Badly night on Friday 10 May. Grown ups can pretend to be big kids as they enjoy the park attractions out of hours, including the indoor playzone, the tumble down towers and slides and the twister ride. Tickets are available via or on the evening.

Jesse Leach, Operations Manager at Pennywell Farm near Buckfastleigh says;

‘We are delighted to be part of a much bigger group of attractions across Devon who are supporting the RNLI’s Mayday fundraising campaign. When we learnt that it costs £2,161 to provide one all-weather lifeboat crew member with all the kit they need when responding to the call for help, we knew we must do our bit to help spread the message. The Pennywell Team and miniature pigs Jessica, Jemima and Peanut really enjoyed getting up close to the all important yellow wellies and helmets that keep the crews safe. There might be just a little bit of straw left in there!’

Other Mayday events across Devon include the Clovelly Yellow Welly Cobble Wobble on Sunday 5 May which will see around 200 runners, tackle an historic 12 mile run through Clovelly. The event is still open to those wanting a last minute challenge – visit

In Brixham, the Torbay lifeboat station are hosting a series of events during May including an Open Day on Sunday 5 May and a Sea Shanty Eventing on Friday 31 May.

In Exmouth, the RNLI volunteers ave organised a cream tea and Welly Wanging event on Sunday 5 May with lots of additional activities for all the family.

Those looking to find out more about events in their area or to register for a free fundraising pack should visit

Swimmers can also take on a personal challenge by swimming the length of their favourite coastline whilst raising money for the RNLI.

Whether you fancy taking on the ultimate challenge of swimming the Channel, or the length of your local beach or river, anyone can enter and can opt to swim any distance. And you don’t have to swim the full distance in one go – simply split your chosen distance into lengths and keep going until you reach your target. To register or for more information visit

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.

Notes to editors

  • Please find attached a series of photos including (please use appropriate credits as labelled)
    • Pennywell Farm miniature pigs supporting RNLI Mayday credit John Baldry for all
    • RNLI crew members Rich Eggleton and Dave Hart at Dart Country Park credit John Baldry for all
    • RNLI crew members from Appledore lifeboat station at The Big Sheep in North Devon credit Simon Ellery for all

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Emma Haines, RNLI Regional Media Officer, on 07786 668847 or or Amy Caldwell, RNLI Regional Media Manager, on 07920 818807 or

John Baldry

Pennywell Farm minature pigs supporting Mayday

John Baldry

Dart RNLI crew members at River Dart Country Park for RNLI Mayday

Simon Ellery

Appledore RNLI crew at the Big Sheep for RNLI Mayday

Simon Ellery

Appledore RNLI crew feeding the lambs at the Big Sheep for RNLI Mayday

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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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.