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Couple choose donations to RNLI Whitstable in lieu of wedding presents

Lifeboats News Release

When wedding bells rang out from All Saint's Church Whitstable for Denise Blaskett and Howard Barker back in June few would have expected that a few weeks later it would lead to another celebration at Whitstable RNLI when the happy couple made a donation to the station of £1135.

Denise and Howard Barker who have donated over £1000 to Whitstable RNLI after receiving donations in lieu of wedding presents

RNLI/Chris Davey

Denise and Howard Barker who have donated over £1000 to Whitstable RNLI after receiving donations in lieu of wedding presents
The couple who first met 12-years ago in London tied the knot back in June they asked guests attending the ceremony that rather than buying wedding presents to make a donation to charities of their choice instead.

Denise said: 'We each chose a charity. Howard being a former yachtsman knows the brutality of a strong wind and a harsh tide. He always felt safe when sailing as he knew if he was going to get into difficulties the RNLI would be there for him but as a charity, the RNLI depends on our donations so it can go on saving lives and keeping us and our loved ones safe. Living in Whitstable we wanted to give something back to our local RNLI station”.

'I went for Air Ambulance Kent, Surry Sussex as my son Adam is a paramedic and air ambulances rely on the donations of people like us to keep their services active. Air Ambulance KSS is an independent charity which costs over £15.2M a year to sustain their service and amazingly 86% is donated and raised by the people of Kent, Surrey and Sussex”.

'Unsurprisingly the majority of our Whitstable friends went for the lifeboat and our London friends the air ambulance to which we donated £841.'

Jo Fenton, Joint Chair of Fundraising at Whitstable RNLI said: 'Our thanks go to Howard and Denise for thinking of the station and due to their kind generosity the monies will go towards the running costs of the lifeboat so that in these times of rising costs we can continue with our role of 'saving lives at sea”.

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


A round of applause for Denise and Howard Barker who have donated over £1000 to Whitstable RNLI after receiving donations in lieu of wedding presents

RNLI/Chris Davey

A round of applause for Denise and Howard Barker who have donated over £1000 to Whitstable RNLI after receiving donations in lieu of wedding presents
Howard and Denise on their wedding day

Camilla Harney

Howard and Denise on their wedding day

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.

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