RNLI national Christmas appeal to feature lifeboat volunteer and dad from Devon
Torbay lifeboat volunteer, James Hoare and his dad Jeff are two of the new faces of the RNLI’s major Christmas appeal, hoping to raise over £2M in donations after an unprecedented summer facing the challenges of saving lives during the coronavirus pandemic.
In the appeal letter, which is being delivered to around six million households across England, Jeff Hoare talks about how proud he is of his son, James, who was keen to become a lifeboat volunteer from a young age.
But he also worries for James when he is called out to save those in difficulty. When James is called out on a shout, Jeff always tracks the lifeboat’s progress online and feels a huge sense of relief when James returns home safe.
When James was eight years old, he went on a school visit to see his local lifeboat and loved to see the lifesavers launch to those in difficulty. He used to tell his dad that he wanted to ‘drive the boat’ one day – and now he is!
The crew at Torbay have faced a tough summer this year. With thousands of foreign holidays being cancelled, Devon saw a huge increase in the number of visitors. In one four-day period, the crew were called out eight times.
Jeff said: ‘It can be difficult seeing James leave when the pager goes. I worry about him and what he might go through when he is out on a shout. Even at Christmas, I know that James might have to drop everything and run out the door to go and save someone’s life.’
James, who is deputy Coxswain on the all-weather lifeboat, and helm on the inshore lifeboat commented: ‘The best Christmas gift RNLI volunteers like me can wish for is a kind donation to our Christmas appeal. Funds raised will provide the lifesaving kit I need when I’m out saving lives in all weathers.
‘We’ve had a very challenging summer, rescuing those in difficulty in the midst of a pandemic. As lockdown restrictions lifted, people flocked to the coast and lots of people needed to be rescued by lifeboat crews like ours, right across the country.’
Due to coronavirus restrictions, our popular Seaside Special celebration, had to be cancelled and the volunteer-run RNLI shops in Brixham had to close. Similar closures and cancellations across the UK and Ireland have cost the RNLI millions of pounds in lost income.
Our RNLI lifesavers across 238 lifeboat stations are prepared to rush out the door at the sound of their pager, even during Christmas dinner. Across the UK and Ireland, RNLI volunteers are called out over 100 times during the Christmas period*.
The RNLI has spent £1.2M this year on PPE, including almost 700,000 face masks, 2.4 million gloves and 4,700 litres of hand sanitiser. This is money the charity hadn’t budgeted for but needed to be spent to keep its lifesavers and the public protected during the coronavirus crisis.
RNLI lifesavers continued to work tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep people safe as lockdown restrictions eased and people flocked to the coast. As a charity, the RNLI relies on the support of the public to continue saving lives – and that support is needed now more than ever. The charity has launched its Christmas Appeal. To support, visit: RNLI.org/Xmas
Notes to editor:
· Please see attached images of James Hoare, Torbay RNLI crew member and his Jeff Hoare credit RNLI/Nigel Millard
· *Average number of call outs in the UK and Ireland in the Christmas period between 24 December and 1 January 2009/10–2019/20.
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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.
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