£6000 worth of kisses raises funds for the RNLI Rye Harbour

Lifeboats News Release

The UK tradition of kissing under the mistletoe is thought to have started in the 1700s, but it became much more popular throughout the 1800s. Ron Baker ensures that this tradition does not die out in his corner of East Sussex.


Ron Baker visits RNLI Rye Harbour Paul and Izzy Bolton and Martin Bruce

Ron has been selling mistletoe for over twelve years in The Swan Pub, Woods Corner, East Sussex, and has raised many thousands of pounds for our station. The mistletoe is donated by Penshurst Place Estate and we are really grateful to them and Ron for taking the time to sell it.

Palace Estates General Manager, Ben Thomas said, “At Penshurst Place Estate, we are delighted to help the annual RNLI fundraising effort through the sale of mistletoe at Christmas harvested from the Estate itself. The work the RNLI carries out has never been more needed, and it is humbling to know that their volunteer crews put their own lives at risk every day to save those in need, regardless of circumstance or background.”

During the summer months Ron raises funds with a group of friends for the Air Ambulance and has raised many thousands of pounds for them too.

He is a dedicated fundraiser and his work and that of people like him enables a charity such as the RNLI to carry one with the wonderful work it does in keeping people safe on and off the water and Saving Lives at Sea. Ron visited the station with his grandson Theo, a supporter of the RNLI too, following in Grandad’s footsteps.

Paul Barsby

Mistletoe at Penshurst Place


Young supporter Leo at RNLI Rye Harbour

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.