Woman rescued by RNLI becomes full-time fundraiser - apply now to join her

Lifeboats News Release

‘I wanted to give back in some way.’ Woman rescued by RNLI becomes full-time fundraiser – and applications open to join her

A young woman dressed in white t-shirt and dark shorts stands looking at the camera. She is wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses. There is a view of the beach and sea behind her.


RNLI Face-to-Face Fundraiser Gemma

Applications are now open to become one of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s (RNLI) face-to-face fundraisers. This vital role includes sharing safety messages and encouraging new supporters to sign up and donate to the lifesaving charity.

One person who has seen first-hand the incredible work of the RNLI’s volunteer crews is 29-year-old Gemma, who has since become a face-to-face fundraiser for the charity. In August 2020, Gemma was cycling home along a cliff-top path when she slipped and fell to the beach below, suffering life-changing injuries including several skull fractures. First on the scene was the local lifeboat crew, who administered first aid before Gemma was airlifted to hospital, where she spent a month recovering following emergency surgery.

Eighteen months later, Gemma has just started working as a face-to-face fundraiser, sharing her own story to encourage the public to be cautious when visiting the coast.

‘I’m never going to forget the RNLI’, says Gemma. ‘I was very lucky.’

Unable to continue with a career in childcare due to her injuries, Gemma looked for a job that would allow her to give something back, after being helped by both the RNLI and other charities. ‘Thank you did not feel enough’, she said. ‘I wanted to pay back someone who’d helped me.’

Gemma is now one of the RNLI’s face-to-face fundraisers, who work around the coast and at events around the UK and Ireland. This year, the lifesaving charity is looking to recruit around 220 face-to-face fundraisers to join Gemma and her team, with part-time, seasonal and year-round opportunities available.

A role within the face-to-face fundraising team offers flexible working in some great locations, with fundraisers receiving competitive rates of pay whilst developing valuable skills for life. If you are dynamic, engaging and have great interpersonal skills, this could be the role for you – acting as an ambassador for the RNLI and helping to save lives at sea, whether by delivering lifesaving safety messaging to help people enjoy the beach safely, or inspiring new supporters to donate to the charity.

Michael Smith, Senior Face-to-Face Fundraising Manager at the RNLI, said: ‘Our face-to-face fundraiser roles are the perfect fit for anyone who is friendly, energetic and able to talk to anyone. We provide full, high-quality training to make sure that all our fundraisers feel confident and capable of being a lifesaving ambassador.’

And for Gemma, it’s a job that is giving her back some confidence following her accident:

‘Even going for the interview was a huge step. It’s been good for me on a personal level to be able to share my story, and to help prevent something like this from happening to anyone else. I never thought I would be doing a job like this, but being outside makes me happy, and I am good at talking!

‘I’d encourage anyone looking for a new challenge to give face-to-face fundraising a go.’

RNLI face-to-face fundraising vacancies are available across the UK and Ireland with a range of hours from part- to full-time. To apply or find out more information, visit RNLI.org/FundraiserJobs. Gemma's story is also covered in the RNLI Lifesavers podcast - listen to hear more from Gemma in her own words.

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.