Hoylake RNLI and Sailing Club to return for annual Boxing Day Tug O’War

Volunteers from Hoylake RNLI lifeboat crew are looking forward to taking on a team from Hoylake Sailing Club this Boxing Day in the annual Slater Trophy Tug O’War.

The Slater Trophy - a small teapot - bears the names of the winning Tug o’War team since 1972

RNLI/ Victoria Phipps

The Slater Trophy - a small teapot - bears the names of the winning Tug o’War team since 1972

The competition is expected to make a welcome return at midday on Sunday 26 December after Wirral Council gave its approval for the local festive tradition to take place.

This year the Tug o’War will be held on the grassed area next to Hoylake RNLI lifeboat station on North Parade while a scientific study of Hoylake Beach continues.

There will also be new measures in place to keep participants and spectators safe at the outdoor event. People attending will be asked to avoid crowding together where possible and not to attend if they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or have had a recent positive test. Any further announcements will be made on Hoylake RNLI’s Facebook page and other social media channels as organisers monitor government and public health guidance.

The Boxing Day Tug o’War was established in 1972 by Arthur Slater of Hoylake Sailing Club and Hoylake RNLI Coxswain Danny Triggs. It has become a firm fixture in the local community calendar.

Since the tradition began, hundreds of spectators have normally gathered to watch the two teams battle it out for the coveted Slater Trophy – a small teapot that bears the name of the winning side stretching back for nearly 50 years.

The humble trophy started life in the boardroom of Cammell Laird shipbuilders in the 1960s when the Polaris programme’s Resolution-class submarines were under construction in Birkenhead. The teapot was later thrown out, dented and dull, into a McDermott’s sprout box before finding its way to Hoylake.

After the inaugural Tug O’War took place, the teapot was discovered, polished and engraved with the name of the first winning team – the 'Lifeboat'. So began nearly five decades of local competition. The trophy will see its 50th anniversary marked in 2022.

Hoylake RNLI Coxswain Howie Owen said: ‘After another busy and challenging year for our volunteer crew, we’re excited to be pulling on our boots again and taking on the Sailing Club in friendly competition for the Slater Trophy. Last year’s Tug o’War was sadly cancelled due to the pandemic, so we know how much our community will be looking forward to seeing it take place.’

‘The event is free to watch and a great way to walk off Christmas lunch. We hope that our community will show their usual fantastic support by cheering on the teams. But until then, stay safe and have a very happy Christmas.’

This winter the RNLI is asking for support from the public to help its crews in their mission to save every one. If anyone attending the event would like to help fund Hoylake RNLI’s lifesaving work then donations would be welcomed at any donation point on the day. Supporters can also donate to the Hoylake and West Kirby RNLI Fundraising JustGiving page. More information on the RNLI’s Christmas appeal can be found at RNLI.org/Christmas.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact

  • Dan Whiteley, Lifeboat Press Officer on 07799 851 316 or email [email protected] 
  • Eleri Roberts, RNLI Regional Media Officer on 07771941390 or email [email protected] 
  • RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789

Notes to editors

Hoylake RNLI lifeboat station has been operating since 1803 and is one of the oldest in the UK. 

Images are attached:

  1. The Slater Trophy - a small teapot - bears the names of the winning Tug o’War team since 1972 (RNLI/ Victoria Phipps)
  2. Hoylake RNLI lifeboat crew heave on the rope at the 2019 Tug o’War (RNLI/ Victoria Phipps)
  3. Hoylake Sailing Club face the local RNLI lifeboat crew in the 2019 Tug o’War (RNLI/ Victoria Phipps)
Hoylake RNLI lifeboat crew heave on the rope at the 2019 Tug o’War

RNLI/ Victoria Phipps

Hoylake RNLI lifeboat crew heave on the rope at the 2019 Tug o’War
Hoylake Sailing Club face the local RNLI lifeboat crew in the 2019 Tug o’War

RNLI/ Victoria Phipps

Hoylake Sailing Club face the local RNLI lifeboat crew in the 2019 Tug o’War

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.

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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