Welsh RNLI volunteers who rescue 23 people every week issue their own Mayday
On 1 May, 23 people will line up outside Llandudno Lifeboat Station to mark the start of the RNLI’s Mayday campaign, a month-long fundraiser for the lifesaving charity, aiming to raise £700,000 to fund vital kit for its volunteer lifeboat crews
The number of people lined up along the seafront will represent the number of people rescued off the Welsh coast every week by RNLI lifeboat crews in 2018. One of those facing the camera and reliving his rescue experience to help raise awareness of Mayday is experienced kayaker Chad Cooper.
Chad, from Penrhyn Bay recalls how his friend first got into difficulty whilst kayaking off the coast off Llandudno for the very first time. The kayak had capsized in rough conditions and Chad tried desperately to recover his friend into the boat, but failed due to deteriorating conditions. With the pair now both in difficulty, a member of the public called 999 and Llandudno inshore RNLI lifeboat launched to their aid.
‘It was a real panicky experience. I’ll never forget not being able to see my friend as the conditions got worse, and I realised we needed help fast. He got caught in an offshore current and it was a shock to see how quickly he was being swept out. I knew I had to get him back into the boat, but with the conditions so bad, there was little I could do.
‘It was a huge relief to see Llandudno RNLI coming towards us, I’m so grateful to them. That’s why I’m keen to support the charity’s Mayday fundraiser and would urge people to give generously and do what they can to support them as you just never know when you may need them.’
Luke Heritage, volunteer RNLI lifeboat helmsman at Llandudno explains:
‘It’s great to welcome Chad back to the station. It’s rare we get to meet the people we rescue, so it’s always nice to see the difference we’ve made to someone’s life as things could have been very different.
It’s amazing to see the number of people we rescue in Wales every week come to life like this – it really hits home just how many people we rescue and makes me very proud to be a volunteer crew member. We rely heavily on our kit to protected us from the extreme conditions we face during rescues, so I hope when people see the line of people outside our station they are inspired to get involved with Mayday this year – after all no one knows when they might need our help.’
Relying totally on the generosity of the public, the RNLI’s Mayday campaign is one way the charity raises funds to keep the lifesaving service afloat. All money raised for Mayday will go towards providing essential crew kit. It currently costs £2,161 to provide one all-weather lifeboat crew member with the kit they need - the specialist layered clothing and yellow wellies cost £1,265, a lifejacket costs £458, pager £150, safety gloves £25 and a safety helmet costs £263.
The RNLI is asking the public to get creative and Go Yellow throughout the month of May to help fundraise. The charity is encouraging people to sign up for a fundraising pack at RNLI.org/mayday and show their support by joining the conversation online using the hashtags #MaydayEveryDay and #YellowWellyRelay.
Notes to editors
When: 1 May, 2019, 11am.
Where: Llandudno RNLI Lifeboat Station, Colwyn Rd, Llandudno LL30 3AA.
Opportunity: 23 people will line up along the seafront representing the number of people rescued off the Welsh coast every week by RNLI lifeboat crews in 2018. One of those will be a kayaker who was dramatically saved by RNLI volunteers in Llandudno and is now helping to raise awareness of the charity’s fundraising campaign Mayday.
Professional images will be available shortly after the media opportunity. Please request the images by contacting Danielle Rush on the telephone numbers below.
RNLI media contactsFor more information, please contact Danielle Rush, RNLI Media Relations Manager in Wales on 07786 668829. Alternatively, call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.