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Wirral mum makes final call to encourage support for this weekend’s RNLI walk

Lifeboats News Release

Leah Hunt, a police officer from Birkenhead, is calling on people across the North West to take on the Wirral Coastal Path this weekend to raise funds for the RNLI.

RNLI/David Edwards

Leah and her grandchildren training with the West Kirby RNLI crew

Leah has a very special reason for supporting the charity after losing her son Sam during an incident, where RNLI crews saved the life of her eldest son Lewis.

Leah will take part in the Wirral Coastal Walk on 22 May along with Lewis’ three children Archie, nine, Kael, seven and five year old Neala. All will be wearing yellow wellies as a tribute to RNLI crews across the UK and Ireland who are prepared to drop everything should the call for help come.

Leah is encouraging people to join them on the walk of four, eight or 12 miles along the Wirral Coastal path from New Brighton to Thurstaston. Anyone wishing to take part in the event can join the RNLI team here: The RNLI has set up a special team of walkers as part of the charity’s Mayday Mile fundraiser.

Leah’s son Sam Capper, aged 15, from Rock Ferry died in hospital after falling into the sea when a wave hit him in Llangennith, Swansea, in 2012. His older brother Lewis, now 31, jumped in after Sam and held onto him before being rescued by an RAF rescue helicopter and Burry Port RNLI lifeboat.

Lifeboat crews and fundraisers across the Wirral will cheer on Leah and the team as she walks past New Brighton, Hoylake and West Kirby Lifeboat Stations. Leah officially launched this year’s Mayday Mile fundraiser last month by meeting her local RNLI crew at West Kirby for the first time and training alongside them.

Funds raised during the walk will raise essential funds to provide vital training and equipment to keep lifesavers such as those on the Wirral safe, while they risk their lives to save others.

The number of lives saved by RNLI crews in Cumbria, Lancashire and the Wirral has increased by nearly 30 per cent since 2020. In 2021 lifeboat crews from West Kirby to Silloth saved the lives of 22 people, compared with 17 the previous year.

With demand for its lifesaving services at a high and the continued popularity of staycations, the charity is putting out its own ‘Mayday’ call.

Leah says:

‘Since I launched the RNLI’s fundraising campaign on the Wirral last month, it’s been heartening to hear people have been signing up for the walk, but the more the merrier and we’d still welcome more support. Those who can’t walk for any reason and prefer to make a donation, that would be most welcome too.

‘This walk is certainly not about me, but about keeping Sam’s memory alive. On the 10th anniversary of his passing - it’s more important to me than ever to see his legacy live on in such a positive way. I would do anything for the RNLI and the walk is just one of the ways I want to say thank you.

‘Although the tragedy of losing Sam will never go away, they gave me back my son Lewis and I will be forever in their debt for that. I’m really looking forward to walking the Wirral Coastal Path for Mayday and will be chatting with my grandchildren about the uncle they never got to meet.’

To show your support for RNLI crews, people are invited to walk, jog, hop or skip, the Mayday Mile which challenges you to cover at least one mile in any way you like between Saturday 1st and Tuesday 31st May, whilst raising vital funds for RNLI lifesavers so that they can continue to keep people safe at sea.

The Mayday Mile will be running from Saturday 1 May to Tuesday 31 May. Sign up and find out more at today.


Photo opportunity

Leah, her grandchildren and the RNLI team will be passing New Brighton RNLI lifeboat station and will be cheered on by the crew at 9.15am.

A route schedule is below:

8.30-9am - New Brighton: Floral Pavilion - Meet up

9am - Set off

9.15am - New Brighton RNLI Lifeboat Station

11/12pm - Hoylake RNLI Lifeboat Station

12/1pm - West Kirby RNLI Station

1pm/2pm - Thurstaston - End

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact Danielle Rush, RNLI Media Relations Manager in Wales and the North West on 07886 668829. Alternatively, please call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336 789 or email [email protected].

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.