RNLI and Virgin Voyages join forces with £50,000 donation to Portsmouth crew

Lifeboats News Release

Virgin Voyages donates £50,000 to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), which will help Southsea East lifeguards and Selsey and Portsmouth lifeboat crew continue to save lives at sea throughout 2022.

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages’ luxury ship, Scarlet Lady, is embarking on her first sailings from Portsmouth Harbour this summer. Ahead of the ship’s public launch on Friday 6 August, Virgin Voyages is supporting the RNLI’s lifesaving work through their ‘friends and family’ pre-launch sail, which embarks on its three-day journey around England today.

A portion of each ticket sold for this voyage will be donated to the RNLI, an organisation nominated by Virgin Voyages, to celebrate and support the charity’s mission and prominence in the Portsmouth region.

The £50,000 sum will have a great impact on the RNLI community and help the charity continue saving lives at sea for the year to come. The money will directly fund the kit and training of the Portsmouth RNLI crew for 2022, fund all repairs and maintenance for Selsey lifeboats for 2022, and fully kit out the RNLI lifeguards at Southsea East beach for the 2022 season.

The RNLI is thrilled to have been nominated by Virgin Voyages to receive this generous donation. Maria Healy, the RNLI’s Partnerships New Business Manager, said, “We are so thankful to Virgin Voyages for their support of our charity’s goals. The money is going straight back into the heart of the Portsmouth community and will keep our crews and lifeguards there trained and equipped for another year. Generosity like this helps the RNLI continue to save lives at sea, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”

Virgin Voyages is giving back to a charity and community that has a personal tie to the Virgin family. Eve Branson, mother of Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, served as chairman of the Manhood RNLI fundraising branch, which supports Selsey Lifeboat Station. Eve received her Long Service Award in the RNLI in 2020 for 20 years of commitment and service.

Vincent Padioleau, Eve Branson Foundation Committee Chairman, said, “Sadly, no longer with us, Eve dedicated tremendous amounts of energy and passion to fundraising for the RNLI. She leaves a legacy of helping communities both at home and overseas through her work in Morocco with the Eve Branson Foundation. Eve Branson’s service and commitment to the RNLI will never be forgotten, and we’re delighted that Virgin Voyages have chosen to continue this legacy.”

Virgin Voyages employees on the pre-launch sail will experience what Sailors will be offered throughout the summer: adult-only voyages that provide ‘a lavish retreat away from it all’ with glamorous cabins, Michelin-inspired menus, immersive entertainment and plenty of spots for R&R.

The RNLI is incredibly grateful for Virgin Voyages’ financial support for 2022, which builds on a personal connection between the groups and a shared value for the charity’s lifesaving work.

Virgin Voyages’ Director of Social Impact and Sustainability Jill Stoneberg added, “Our mission at Virgin Voyages has always been to change sailing for good by making a positive impact on people and the planet. This commitment includes finding ways to make a difference locally in the communities where we sail through partnerships with charitable organisations. We know RNLI is a much-loved organisation across the UK, and we are proud to support their mission and volunteers who are saving lives at sea.”


Notes to editor

· Scarlet Lady is the largest ship to ever berth in Portsmouth, hosting more than 2,770 Sailors and 1,160 amazing crew from around the world.

· The public is invited onboard for a series of six sailings throughout August, which will take passengers around the English Channel on a mix of three- and four-night voyages.

· To support the RNLI’s lifesavers, go to: www.rnli.org/donate

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact Katie Moncur, Media Engagement Placement on katherine_moncur@rnli.org.uk or 07890041632, or Oliver Wrynne-Simpson, National Media Manager on 07795127351. Alternatively, please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or pressoffice@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 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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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.