HM Coastguard completes challenge for local lifeboat RNLI Kessock
On Saturday 3rd October at 10.30am local Coastguard Rob Fielder completed a month long physical mission to cover 620 miles by running and cycling to support the volunteer RNLI lifeboat station at Kessock.
The 620 miles represents the distance from Kessock Lifeboat Station to the RNLI HQ in Poole, Dorset, and is the return leg of the distance covered virtually by the Kessock Lifeboat crew and their supporters during the month of August. Mr Fielder recognised the efforts that the volunteer crew and the public went to in pledging single ‘Kessock’ miles and donating to the RNLI. He felt inspired to add his assistance to the cause and wanted to highlight that all lifeboat stations are entirely funded by public donations.
Rob averaged 125miles a week for the 5 weeks of his challenge, pushing out 30 mile sessions up to 4 times a week around his work in the Army and volunteer commitment to HM Coastguard Highland. He combined road running, mountain biking and sessions on an indoor watt bike to reach the total miles covered.
Rob said, “I wanted to fundraise and raise awareness of the RNLI crews and lifeguards as a volunteer service which saves lives and is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They have saved over 142,700 lives since 1824 but are more than just a rescue service. They influence, supervise and educate people too. To do all of this without any Government funding is remarkable and I wanted to do my bit.”
He continued, “The physical nature of my challenge was tough but part of my day job as a PT in the Army, so I just committed the time to fit in the sessions 3 to 4 times a week around my work. Now I can start to think about another challenge to support the RNLI in 2021, with or without carrying a casualty dummy!”
Jane Hier, Kessock Lifeboat crewmember and trainee Helm said, “We are very grateful to Rob for his phenomenal effort for us with his challenge and his fundraising. We are very fortunate to have great support from the local public around Inverness but not everyone realises the RNLI has no other income than these public donations. Now more than ever we have to look for additional fundraising to remain fully trained and safely equipped while our usual events have been cancelled due to Covid.”
She continued, “We work closely with the HM Coastguard Team in Inverness and enjoy a great working relationship so this is just further evidence of the strength of that Search and Rescue bond.”
Mr Fielder was flanked by HM Coastguard vehicles on his final run into the Kessock Lifeboat Station where he was greeted by a socially distanced welcoming party of colleagues from the Coastguard team and members of the Lifeboat crew. He was presented with a well deserved bottle of whisky.
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.