Ceredigion youngsters answer the mayday call from the RNLI to raise funds

Lifeboats News Release

Welsh RNLI crews have issued their own mayday call after figures reveal a dramatic increase in lives saved last summer as they rocketed by 71%. Two children from Ceredigion have answered their plea and have already raised over £1,000 between them by taking on the RNLI Mayday Mile challenge.

The RNLI’s Mayday Mile campaign launches on Saturday 1 May and will be running throughout the month. One of the youngest Mayday Mile participants in Wales is five-year-old Mikey Richards from Aberystwyth. Mikey has decided to cycle five miles in his wellies to raise funds to keep his Dad safe at sea. Dad Ian Richards, is a volunteer helm at Aberystwyth RNLI and incredibly proud of his son’s efforts. To support Mikey visit: https://themaydaymile.rnli.org/fundraising/mikeys-yellow-wellie-bike-ride

South of the county in New Quay, Steffan Williams, aged 12, will be answering the call for help by paddle-boarding his Mayday Mile, he said, “I hope to do a lot more than a mile on my paddleboard, I’m aiming for 10 miles. I want to raise as much money for the RNLI as they are the charity that saves lives at sea. My Dad is also on the crew at New Quay RNLI and I hope to join soon. They are all volunteers and need our help to pay for equipment and lifeboats.” To support Steffan visit:

https://themaydaymile.rnli.org/fundraising/steffans-paddleboarding-mayday-challenge

Lifesavers in Wales are calling on supporters to join the Mayday Mile and cover at least one mile in any way they chose and raise vital funds to keep people safe on our coastline.

With more people expected to be holidaying close to home this year, the RNLI predicts a summer like no other. Therefore the lifesaving charity is calling for the people of Wales to support its mayday campaign to raise funds to ensure volunteer crews can continue to save lives at sea.

Last year as lockdown restrictions eased and people flocked to the coast, RNLI lifesavers saved the lives of 24 people between June and August, compared with 14 lives the previous year.

The latest annual statistics for 2020 show the RNLI’s volunteer crews at the 30 lifeboat stations between Flint and Penarth launched 918 times, aided 991 people and saved 36 lives. RNLI lifeguards on beaches in south Wales, west Wales and Denbighshire in north Wales attended 1,046 incidents and aided 2,673 people.

The latest figures show in the RNLI’s west region, (which includes 30 stations in Wales, 11 in the north west of England and five stations on the Isle of Man) that the majority of call outs were to people out walking and running and not expecting to end up in the water.

RNLI lifeboats launched 112 times to people requiring help after slipping or falling – significantly higher than anywhere else in the UK and Ireland.

Figures also show that people becoming cut off by the tide is a huge cause of concern across Wales and the West, with 115 lifeboat calls out to people finding themselves stranded by the tide. The figure is almost double the national average.

The summer of 2020 saw a rise in popularity of people paddle-boarding and requiring rescue, with 88 incidents last year.

Stuart Wallace, RNLI Lifesaving Lead for the West said, “We all saw the images of packed beaches around the coast as restrictions lifted last summer, which meant a hugely busy season for the RNLI in Wales and the West as a whole. As another summer approaches, we know that our lifesavers face more huge challenges in keeping everyone safe, which is why we’re now the ones sending out our own mayday call and asking for help.

“Our annual mayday fundraising campaign is our call for your support to help keep you and your family safe at the coast this summer.”

Stuart added, “Our lifesavers drop everything to run to the lifeboat station when the call comes, so we’re asking our supporters to put themselves in the crew’s boots and join the Mayday Mile. Every penny raised during Mayday will go towards ensuring we are ready to save even more lives this year.”

To sign up for the Mayday Mile or to make a donation in support of the RNLI’s lifesavers visit RNLI.org/supportMayday.

*Summer refers to the period of 1st June – 31st August 2020

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Kate Williams on 07786 550054 or kate_williams@rnli.org.uk

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.

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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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