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Kent puts its best feet forward for the RNLI’s Mayday Mile Appeal

Lifeboats News Release

Yellow wellies will be walking, running and jumping across Kent this month as the RNLI holds its annual Mayday appeal to raise much-needed funds for the charity that saves lives at sea.

Karen Cox (left) and Sarah Hewes at the start of their Mayday miles.


Karen Cox (left) and Sarah Hewes at the start of their Mayday miles.

In preparation for a busy summer of staycations, with millions of people expected to head to the coast, the RNLI is putting out its own Mayday call by asking supporters to take part in the Mayday Mile to raise funds.

Whether you choose to swim it, run it, cycle it or simply walk it, the Mayday Mile challenges people to cover one mile in anyway they like between Sunday 1 May and Monday 31 May to support the charity.

Among those in Kent who have already begun fundraising are Ramsgate RNLI volunteer press officer Karen Cox and Ramsgate Fundraising Branch chairman Sarah Hewes. Not content with walking just one mile, the intrepid duo covered around nine miles around the Kent coast from Margate RNLI lifeboat station to Ramsgate RNLI lifeboat station.

On route the duo, who have already raised almost £700, stopped off at Kingsgate, which had an RNLI lifeboat station from 1862 to 1897 and Broadstairs where the lifeboat station was on the harbour from 1851 to 1912.

‘We have been going for long socially distanced walks during the lockdown and have been talking about the best way to help the RNLI as it has been a difficult year,’ said Karen. ‘So we decided to carry on walking and raise money for the RNLI at the same time. We reached our target in a few days so now have raised it!’

To find out more about Karen and Sarah’s Mayday challenge click here:

Meanwhile Whitstable lifeboat crew member Kellie Gray really is going the extra mile to raise money for the RNLI. Throughout the month of May she is running and walking a mile a day in full lifeboat shore crew kit to bring in the funds. Already almost ten days into her challenge, Kellie said it was proving to be hard work:

‘Some days are tougher than others, it’s mentally tough but it is absolutely going to be done, I can’t get out of it now!’ laughed Kellie, who has just been made chair of the Whitstable Fundraising Branch.

‘Our kit is specially designed to keep us safe during lifeboat launches, but it’s certainly not the best clothing to be wearing while covering 31 miles, which I hope to have completed by the end of May,’ added Kellie, who has already raised just short of £600. ‘But I’m not complaining – 2020 was the busiest year for some time for Whitstable lifeboat station and I want to do all I can to ensure the RNLI can continue saving lives well into the future’.

To see more about Kellie’s efforts go to:

With restrictions on travel in 2020, RNLI crews were busier than ever across the south east, with 13% more lifeboat launches than in 2019 and a 45% increase in people aided by the volunteer crews. With restrictions ongoing, it looks likely that this summer will be at least as busy on our beaches and our lifeguards and volunteer crews need your support to save every one.

If you have any fun, challenging, original ideas for participating in a Mayday Mile to support the RNLI, please sign up at

Photo captions:

Mayday 1: Karen Cox (left) and Sarah Hewes at the start of their Mayday miles.

Mayday 2: Whitstable Lifeboat’s Kellie Gray.

RNLI media contacts

Paul Dunt, RNLI Regional Media Officer for the South East and London (07785) 296252 [email protected]

Julie Rainey, RNLI Regional Media Manager for the South East and London (07827) 358256 [email protected]

Whitstable Lifeboat’s Kellie Gray.


Whitstable Lifeboat’s Kellie Gray.

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.