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Isle Paddle – kayaker to circumnavigate Coll and Tiree for Tobermory RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

A Coll man is preparing to attempt a 100 km challenge, kayaking solo around the Isles of Coll and Tiree in a single day to to train and kit out a new crew volunteer at Tobermory RNLI.

RNLI/Alex Page

Isle of Coll kayaker, Alex Page

Alex Page, 53, is taking to the seas to raise funds for Tobermory Lifeboat Station – and challenging sponsors to guess how long it will take him.

Alex said, "It’s going to be hard work, but worth it to support this incredible life-saving charity."

"In addition to providing a 24-hour search and rescue service, the RNLI also supports medical evacuations from islands like ours and is there for all of us who take to the island waters throughout the year."

Alex is the International Programme Director at Project Trust, a Coll-based international volunteering charity. He is also a Firefighter and Coastguard Rescue Officer with the volunteer teams on the island.

He says he and fellow islanders know from experience just how important the RNLI is for them:

"In 2021 a major heathland fire threatened several homes on the edge of Arinagour. The Tobermory lifeboat was able to bring additional firefighters and pumping equipment across, which helped to bring the fire under control."

Alex is inviting people to take part in a competition to guess how long the epic paddle will take.

"There is an extraordinary mix of prizes sponsored by local businesses that will be split between the three donors whose guesses are closest to my finishing time. These include Hebridean Air flights; tickets to Detour Discotheque on Coll; courses with Sea Kayak Oban and Basking Shark Scotland; wildlife walks with Wildsmiths and RSPB Coll; hampers of local produce from Isle of Mull Cheese Sgriob-Ruadh Farm and Robertson Shellfish; and bottles of spirits from the Isle of Coll Distillery, the Coll Hotel, and a private sponsor.

"In 2021 I kayaked around Coll, half the distance, in just over six and a half hours. This will be a much tougher challenge, and I genuinely don’t know how long it will take. With only 18 hours of daylight to play with, hopefully less than that!"

Alex is planning to undertake his Isle Paddle kayak challenge before the end of July and will be looking for a day with favourable wind, sea, and tides.

Tobermory RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Dr Sam Jones said: "Alex is taking on an epic challenge and we are not only extremely grateful that he is supporting Tobermory RNLI but we are in awe of his strength and commitment. It costs nearly £4,000 to equip and train a new member lifeboat crew, including £1,400 each year for their training. We are currently recruiting for new volunteer crew at the station and if Alex succeeds with his circumnavigation of Coll and Tiree, he and his supporters will help kit and train one of them. All of us at the station wish Alex the very best of luck and we will be following his challenge as it unfolds."

For further information, please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/islepaddle and www.facebook.com/IslePaddle. People making a donation are invited to include their guesses for the time it will take Alex in the comments section of the Isle Paddle JustGiving page.

RNLI media contacts

Dr Sam Jones, Tobermory RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer and Lifeboat Operations Manager on 07747601900 or [email protected]

Natasha Bennett, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland, 07826 900639, [email protected]

Martin Macnamara, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 07920 365929, [email protected]

RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789

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.

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