Christmas tree chipping raises £1409 at Whitstable RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Over 300 Christmas trees found their way to Whitstable lifeboat station on Sunday morning for recycling. All in the cause of 'Saving Lives at Sea', the festive firs disappeared at a rate of knots into the chipping machine of Whitstable based Tree Surgeon, Alex Bird.

Whitstable based Tree Surgeopn Alex Bird feeds the chipping machine assisted by members of the Whitstable Lifeboat Station outside the boathouse on Sunday morning.

RNLI/Chris Davey

Whitstable based Tree Surgeopn Alex Bird feeds the chipping machine assisted by members of the Whitstable Lifeboat Station outside the boathouse on Sunday morning.
Station Fundraising Chairman, Kellie Gray, said, “We have been amazed at the response to the scheme, which had a suggested donation of £3.00 to RNLI funds, and right from the start at 10.00am this morning we had residents arriving in a steady stream to deliver their trees. The chipping machine ran almost non-stop for three hours and in doing so seemed to provide quite an attraction for passers-by, which resulted in quite a few additional donations”.

Amongst those who came along to bid farewell to their tree were Freddie (3) and Harry Lawson (5) whose mum explained that the family had seen the poster, lived locally and had used the services of A. Bird Ltd before; therefore, as supporters of the RNLI, they thought it was a fitting end to their fir.

Another donation to RNLI funds came from 'The Talk of Tankerton' Traders Association who contributed to the Christmas lights in Tankerton. Their representative, Mark Woollard of Woolard & Kent Funeral Services, explained that they had “asked Alex Bird to dispose of the trees in Tankerton and decided to make a donation of £150 to the lifeboat as a result”.

Alex Bird, proprietor of A. Bird Ltd, said, “We have probably chipped well over 300 trees of all sizes and have stopped for perhaps only a couple of minutes every now and again for a break. The chippings and the woodchip was delivered to a local resident who donated a large sum of money to the RNLI in the afternoon”.

“The morning has been very enjoyable and I am delighted that we have been able to help raise funds for the RNLI, in addition to the chipping session held at Macknade Fine Foods on Saturday, which helped raise funds for the Pilgrims Hospice. I can't wait to see another Christmas tree” he exclaimed with a grin!

Whitstable RNLI Fund-Raising Branch Chairman, Kellie Gray, said “The scheme has raised £1409 for RNLI funds, which has been a tremendous result and we thank all those who brought along their trees for recycling and to Alex Bird and Tamsin Bentley-Bird for their hard work this morning in supporting the station and the RNLI. The monies raised will go towards the continuing running costs of the station”.


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



Lifeboat crewmembers Ollie Myhill and Richard Monje amongst some of the Christmas trees at Whitstable Lifeboat Station on Sunday morning.

RNLI/Chris Davey

Lifeboat crewmembers Ollie Myhill and Richard Monje amongst some of the Christmas trees at Whitstable Lifeboat Station on Sunday morning.
Freddie, three and Harry Lawson, five hand over theeir Christmas tree to Crewmember Ruth Oliver at Whitstable Lifeboat Station on Sunday morning.

RNLI/Chris Davey

Freddie, three and Harry Lawson, five hand over theeir Christmas tree to Crewmember Ruth Oliver at Whitstable Lifeboat Station on Sunday morning.
Mark Wollard and his family hand over a cheque for £150 to Whitstable RNLI's Dave Parry and Kellie Gray, left, with Tree Surgeon Alex Bird, right, at the lifeboat station on Sunday morning.

RNLI/Chris Davey

Mark Wollard and his family hand over a cheque for £150 to Whitstable RNLI's Dave Parry and Kellie Gray, left, with Whitstable based Tree Surgeon Alex Bird, right, at the lifeboat station on Sunday morning.

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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