Whitstable lifeboat volunteers take on car parking role

Lifeboats News Release

Volunteers from Whitstable lifeboat took on the role of car parking attendants on Saturday when the station joined in with a charity car parking scheme at a local school.

Lifeboat crewmember Richard Monje and his dog Rosie, Helmsman Andy Mayo and Chair of Fundraising Kellie Gray at Whitstable Junior School ready for business on Saturday.

Kim Mayo/RNLI Whitstable.

Lifeboat crewmember Richard Monje and his dog Rosie, Helmsman Andy Mayo and Chair of Fundraising Kellie Gray at Whitstable Junior School ready for business on Saturday
The scheme, which has been running for around 17 years, sees local charities take it in turns to run weekend and holiday-time parking using the Whitstable Junior School car park and playground, the school being in the town centre. Motorists make a donation for parking, which is split between the charity and the school.

Chair of the Whitstable lifeboat fundraising branch, Kellie Gray, said, “Whitstable has become a very popular seaside town with visitors all the year round as we are only an hour or so's drive from London, and car parking has become a local issue”.

“We decided to join in with the scheme and last Saturday was the first available slot in which we could participate”.

“Members of the crew, their partners and other station volunteers joined in to staff the parking, and the school parking spaces and playground were full by 11.30”.

“The scheme is a good thing for the town, with the High Street retailers and businesses benefitting from the additional parking made available to visitors”.

“It all worked really well for us and we took around £518, of which 50% goes to the school, and we were also able to meet and interact with visitors to the town and we hope that on future occasions, especially in the summer months, we will also be able to get over the water safety message and perhaps sell some RNLI souvenirs”.

Brian Hitchin of the Whitstable Chamber of Commerce who administer the scheme said, “When parking became an issue in Whitstable around 17 years ago, the Chamber of Commerce came up with a scheme to use the town centre school car park and playground, so we approached the school and they agreed to give it a go”.

“The scheme works for everyone, it provides additional parking for visitors, benefits the local traders and raises monies for local charities, groups and the school, but amazingly, we know of only one other similar scheme”.

Notes to editors

Whitstable RNLI Lifeboat Station was established in 1963 by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and is one of 237 lifeboat stations around the shores of the UK and Ireland. The volunteer crews provide a maritime search and rescue service for the Kent coast. They cover the area between the Kingsferry Bridge on the Swale, in the west, around the south-eastern side of Sheppey and along the coast through Whitstable and Herne Bay to Reculver in the east and outwards into the Thames Estuary.

The station is equipped with an Atlantic 85 lifeboat named Lewisco, purchased through a bequest of a Miss Lewis of London who passed away in 2006.

She is what is known as a rigid inflatable inshore lifeboat, the boat’s rigid hull being topped by an inflatable sponson. She carries a crew of four people.

RNLI media contacts

  • Chris Davey, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, Whitstable Lifeboat Station.
    07741 012004/ [email protected]

  • Paul Dunt RNLI Press Officer London/southeast/east Tel: 0207 6207416 Mob: (07785) 296252 [email protected]

  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789


The school playground in use for the charity car parking.

RNLI/Chris Davey

The school playground in use for the charity car parking.
The Whitstable Junior School and lifeboat volunteers ready for business on Saturday.

Kim Mayo/RNLI Whitstable.

The Whitstable Junior School and lifeboat volunteers ready for business on Saturday.
Helmsman Andy Mayo finds himself on car parking duties on Saturday

Kim Mayo/RNLI Whitstable.

Helmsman Andy Mayo finds himself on car parking duties on Saturday
The charity car parking at Whitstable Junior School.

RNLI/Chris Davey

The charity car parking at Whitstable Junior School.

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.

Categories