Rugby legend Lawrence Dallaglio joins fundraiser in London in aid of the RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

On Friday 1 July, rugby World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio will set off on an 18 mile fundraising walk in London along the River Thames from Wood’s Quay Westminster to Teddington in support of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) alongside their corporate partner, Aquapac.

RNLI/Nathan Williams

RNLI lifeboat on the River Thames, London.

This year marks 20 years of the RNLI having a lifesaving presence on the Thames since it set up lifeboat stations at Tower, Chiswick, Teddington and Gravesend. They were opened in 2002 as a result of the enquiry on the Marchioness Disaster in 1989 which tragically claimed the lives of 51 people including Lawrence’s sister, Francesca.

In the past two decades the charity’s four lifeboat stations on the Thames have launched a total of 16,605 times, aided over 5,000 people and saved over 600 lives.

Lawrence Dallaglio, who in 2004 officially named RNLI’s lifeboat Legacy in memory of the victims of the Marchioness disaster, which served at both Tower RNLI and Chiswick RNLI lifeboat stations, is keen to support this fundraiser. He said:

‘I’m wholeheartedly supporting my mother, Eileen’s, legacy today as she was instrumental in campaigning for change on the Thames and the creation of a rescue service. Eileen would have been very proud of the continued efforts of the RNLI and its incredible teams. She always used to say to me “leave people in a better place than when you arrived”.

‘Along with other emergency services and organisations, the RNLI for the last 20 years have been saving lives in London. Supporting this event to help them continue this work is something close to my heart. We are here to acknowledge, 33 years later, Thames river boat design, water safety and rescue are in a far, far better place than they were the day of the disaster due to my mother’s inspiring campaigning.’

To support this fundraising event, visit

The challenge aims to raise vital funds for the RNLI, to help the charity continue its vital lifesaving service, and deliver important water safety advice to help the public stay safe. The RNLI and Aquapac are fundraising and raising awareness about water safety and are working together to prevent drowning throughout 2022.

Wayne Bellamy, Chiswick RNLI Station Manager, said:

‘We are delighted to have the support of Lawrence and our partners Aquapac for this fundraising challenge. As a charity, we rely on donations to deliver our lifesaving service so every penny raised through this challenge will support us to continue this work.

‘Our aim is to save every one so that nobody has to suffer losing a loved one through drowning.’

Aquapac are a world leader in manufacturing and supplying waterproof pouches including cases for any mobile phone, so it’s a natural coming together with the RNLI whose aim is to reduce drowning. The RNLI and Aquapac strongly encourage people to take a means of calling for help that is most suitable for their activity. Make sure you know how to use it, always keep it on you and within reach.

RNLI lifeguards have been using Aquapac waterproof pouches for 20 years, enabling them to communicate while on their beach patrols, essential to keeping beach visitors safe.

Max Malavasi, Aquapac Founder, said:

‘We are delighted and honoured to have Lawrence join us for this walk. From something tragic can come something good. I went to school with some of the people who died on the Marchioness and it is a privilege to remember them and to do something in their memory. The RNLI do so much to save lives on the river, and the Thames is so much safer today because of this incredible charity’.


Notes to editors

  • Media venue at West Wing Bar on Wood’s Quay Westminster, opposite Savoy Street, Victoria Embankment, London WC2N 6AY at 0730 on 1 July.
  • A video about the partnership can be viewed and downloaded here:
  • Photos will be available to view and download from Friday 1 July.
  • RNLI spokespeople, Lawrence Dallaglio and Aquapac Founder, Max Malavasi are available for interview.
  • Tower, Chiswick, Teddington, and Gravesend are all crewed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by full-time helms and dedicated volunteers who work shifts and sleep on station. This means that they can launch to emergencies in a matter of seconds.

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Oliver Wrynne-Simpson, RNLI National Media Manager on 07795 127351 or Oliver_Wrynne-Simpson or the RNLI Press Office at [email protected] or 01202 336789 or [email protected] or 020 7738 4466.

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.