Littlestone volunteers spend 24 hours at sea in a life raft to raise vital funds
This year's Littlestone Lifeboat Station's Emergency Services Day raised almost £7,000, thanks in no small part to crew members Wayne Black and Josh Spiers who endured 24 hours at sea as part of a life raft challenge to raise money for the RNLI.
The station's annual fund raising day, which included lifeboat displays at sea, also saw Littlestone joined by three of its flanking stations from Dungeness, Dover and Rye Harbour as well as the Ramsgate Pilot boat.
With large crowds attending and huge support from the local emergency services and stall holders, the Emergency Services weekend was a thorough success.
At 1.00pm on Saturday 31st August our lifeboat Fred Clarke launched to set down the life raft, anchored it a mile offshore in front of Littlestone station and our two crew boarded.
Wayne and Josh went through choppy waters and wind initially, then rain and calmer seas throughout the night. They suffered feeling sea sick and cold even though they were dressed in their full lifeboat crew kit - which most who found themselves in a life raft would not have.
Wayne Black boat crew said: 'To be perfectly honest after the first two hours in quite rough seas and feeling sea sick I was doubtful I was going to last, we both felt ill. We kept having to bail out the life raft as it kept filling with water in the choppy sea, but we got through the choppy weather and the seas calmed and spirits lifted with live feeds and playing I spy of all things.
The crew completed this difficult challenge and were 'rescued' at 1.05pm on September 1 in front of hundreds of onlookers visiting the Emergency Services Day on the beach. Once returned to the safety of the shore the crew were welcomed with cheers and applause. They managed to raise a total of £3254 between them.
The Emergency Services day continued with kit demonstrations, BBQ, stalls and the New Romney Sea Cadets band.
The total being raised on the day was £3524 and adding the 24 hours at sea sponsors gave a grand total of £6778
A huge thanks to all supporting services, stall holders and most of all to the general public who so generously made this event a roaring success.
Note for Editors:
Our crew are experienced mariners and would never have taken on this challenge without a full risk assessed plan of action or a full 24 hour watch crew in the Lifeboat Station in case emergency assistance was needed. Please do not think of trying this yourselves. A life raft is the last place anybody would want to find themselves.
· Gavin Munnings, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, Littlestone Lifeboat Station on 07568 719991 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 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.