Charlie goes coast to coast for RNLI
Devon schoolboy Charlie Cave is in training for a long-distance hike which is set to raise thousands of pounds to help upgrade Minehead’s RNLI lifeboat station.
Charlie, 10, is planning a coast-to-coast walk across Devon which will see him covering no less than 118 miles.
And supporters have already pledged more than £700 in sponsorship to get his effort off to a great start.
It’s likely to take Charlie, a pupil at Blundell’s Prep School in Tiverton, eight or nine days to complete the route from Wembury, near Plymouth, to Lynmouth, starting the day after his 11th birthday in April.
He will be accompanied by his father, vet Tom Cave, who said: “He’s determined to do it. Charlie is a keen walker and we are soon going out for some training and to see just how far he can comfortably cover in one day.
“Charlie has often seen lifeboats going out when we have been boating down at Salcombe and when he heard about the activities at Minehead he immediately wanted to help.”
Charlie, who lives in Knowstone, near South Molton, said he was keen to do whatever he could to help get Minehead’s lifeboats to sea more rapidly.
“I think the RNLI are amazing and I know they would come and help me and my family if we ever needed them,” he said.
Work has already started on the £1 million Minehead project which will see the 120-year old lifeboat house remodelled and extended. More than £600,000 has already been raised through fund-raising and from large individual donations towards the work, which is likely to take until October to complete. Until then the crew will be maintaining normal service from a temporary station.
Both Minehead’s lifeboats – an Atlantic 85 rigid inflatable and a D class inflatable – are state-of-the art craft but facilities at the station itself are not fit for purpose and there is an urgent need for more space. Female crew members currently have to get changed in a storage cupboard; there are no showers; and the crew training room is far too small to accommodate all the 30-plus crew at once.
Remodelling will see the station enlarged westwards onto land the RNLI has bought from the local authority, with the ground floor extension enabling the creation of a crew changing room with showers and a separate female crew changing space, a dedicated mechanics’ workshop and a souvenir shop.
One of the most important improvements will be the provision of a full-length boat hall at the rear of the building which will allow the D class – normally launched through the harbour - to remain permanently hitched to its tractor, enabling the crew to shave minutes off its response times.
Minehead RNLI chairman Richard Newton said he was immensely impressed by Charlie’s support.
“For someone so young to want to take on a challenge of this calibre is quite astonishing,” he said.
“We have been lucky to gain exceptional support from various individuals for this project but what Charlie is doing puts him in a league of his own.”
You can support Charlie’s fund-raising effort at:
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.