Why it’s more important than ever to don a pair of antlers and support the RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

With many Christmas traditions under review this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the RNLI’s annual Reindeer Run, which raises vital funds for saving lives at sea, will be going ahead – albeit without getting too close to Ruldolph’s red nose!

Photo of RNLI crew member running in full kit and antlers from a previous year's event.

RNLI

This year's Reindeer Run will be a virtual event this year - but is still going ahead.

In past years it has become a Christmas tradition for people across the South East to put on their running shoes, don a pair of antlers and take part in organised Reindeer Run events. Jogging alongside mascots Rookie the Reindeer and Stormy Stan it’s a great opportunity to enjoy some festive fun and raise money for the RNLI.

But with coronavirus restrictions in place the RNLI is making changes to ensure the Reindeer Run can still go ahead – and runners remain safe and comply with government rules on controlling the virus.

So instead of asking people to take part in organised events, the RNLI is today announcing its first ever Virtual Reindeer Run. Over the weekend of 12/13 December the charity is asking people to dress up and run a Covid-safe virtual run (1k, 5k or 10k) on their own, or with someone in their bubble, to try and raise £100 to help us save lives at sea.

It’s hoped this will follow on from the success of last month’s London Marathon, where scores of runners ran remotely for the RNLI.

In taking part runners will also be doing their bit to show support for another RNLI tradition that takes place every Christmas. As volunteer crews at the charity’s 238 lifeboat stations sit down to enjoy Christmas dinner, some always have their festive celebrations cut short as their pagers sound and they leave friends and family and head out to sea.

‘We appreciate this has been a really difficult year for everyone, but with many Christmas events cancelled, we are hoping the Reindeer Run will bring people some festive cheer and smiles and at the same time helping to keep our lifeboats afloat,’ said Guy Addington, who is on the crew at Margate Lifebaot Station and also the RNLI’s Water Safety Lead in the South East.

‘Normally we’d be looking back on a busy summer of fundraising events to help keep our 238 lifeboat stations operational, but due to the pandemic many of our big annual events have been cancelled, most of our shops have been closed and our amazing supporters have been unable to carry out collections’.

‘The fall in funding has meant the RNLI has had to pause building some of its lifeboats, as well as delaying station maintenance and crew training. We’ve managed to maintain our lifesaving service throughout, but the public’s support with events such as the Reindeer Run will be vital over the months ahead,’ he added.

To book your free entry to this year’s run and learn more about how to stay safe while fundraising go to: https://reindeerrun.rnli.org/

Attached photos: RNLI Reindeer runs in previous years have attracted large entries of runners donning festive antlers. This year’s event will be a bit different – and runners will be going out solo or in family bubbles, but still a fun way of raising money for the charity.

RNLI Media contacts

· Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East), 07785 296252 paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk

· Julie Rainey, Regional Media Manager (South East) 07827 358256

· For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit http://www.rnli.org/. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre.

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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 or by email.

RNLI

You can sign up for this year's Virtual Reindeer Run on the RNLI website.

RNLI

Raising funds for the RNLI is more important than ever this year.

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.

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