A great send off for New Quay RNLI’s D-class lifeboat
Audrey’s Farewell cycle challenge Tour de Dyfed and West Glamorgan smashes target and raises over £25,000
On Sunday 10 September, 21 cyclists arrived at New Quay Lifeboat Station after completing a gruelling three day challenge, cycling from Swansea, along the coastline of the Gower and Pembrokeshire before finishing in Ceredigion, in memory of the late Audrey Lawson Johnston, an ardent RNLI fundraiser.
Cycling over 60 miles per day, the challenge was organised by Mark Hudson and his family, with help from the RNLI City of London Committee. Mark’s grandmother, the late Audrey Lawson Johnson, was rescued from the Lusitania disaster in 1915 and this inspired the family to become long standing fundraisers for the RNLI, and New Quay Lifeboat Station, with the family having previously raised funds for two lifeboats at the station.
Delving into the history Mark, from Bedfordshire, explained, “My Granny was just three months old when she was pulled into a lifeboat during the Lusitania disaster on 15 May 1915. The ship was travelling from New York to Liverpool and was hit by German torpedoes so quickly sank off the Old Head of Kinsale with 1,195 lives lost.
“While my Granny’s parents and brother survived, she lost her sisters Amy and Susan in the sinking. Throughout her life, Granny was relentless in her fundraising efforts for the lifeboats. Alongside her brother, the pair raised money for a new lifeboat at New Quay RNLI in 2004, and the D-class lifeboat was named the Amy Lea after their mother. Then, in 2012, my father and brother raised the funds, with the help of family and friends, for the next D-class lifeboat, named Audrey LJ.
“So, for nearly 20 years, my family has had a very strong connection with New Quay RNLI and we thought how best to give the Audrey LJ lifeboat a proper send-off was to set ourselves this challenge and raise money for the RNLI.
“We would like to thank everyone who took part, and those who supported us, and those who have donated. We have raised over £25,000 which is excellent.
“I would also like to thank Tony Vlasto from the RNLI City of London Fundraising Committee for his help and support, Frank Hoyt-Moxon, Chair of the RNLI City of London Committee, who drove the van, Craig Burn, Tower RNLI Thames Commander, my aunt, Katie Hudson, who helped us in the support crew, Will and Sue Trusting for keeping us on track and organising the actual cycling, and, last but not least, our sponsors Oxford Innovation Space, Cycle Fit, RatesMate, Karma Drinks, Gower Brewery and Princes Gate, and of course my family and my parents.
“At every station we visited we had the most fantastic welcomes, and I definitely had a tear in my eye arriving at New Quay and seeing the Audrey LJ. We all want to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers who risk their own lives every day to help others in danger.”
Anthony Vlasto, President of the RNLI City of London Committee added, “What a fantastic achievement from the team Tour de Dyfed and West Glamorgan. The fortitude they showed over the three day challenge has been quite incredible, and for such an excellent cause.
“We have travelled to 10 RNLI lifeboat stations and we were welcomed warmly everywhere, which was much appreciated. We have seen first-hand the equipment and the professionalism of the volunteer crews, so we have seen what the challenge is supporting.
“We would all like to thank the Hudson family for all they have done for the RNLI and for New Quay Lifeboat Station and Tower RNLI in particular. Their granny was a very special person and their family determination, continuously for years and years, supporting this cause, is inspiring to all.
“But the most important thanks is to the energy, drive and enthusiasm of the person who has driven this from the beginning and that is one particular Hudson, Mark. We thank you from our hearts.”
The money raised will be divided between Tower RNLI in London, Mark’s family’s closest RNLI station, and New Quay Lifeboat Station.
Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager said, “We would like to say a big thank you to the Audrey’s Farewell team for their amazing challenge. It is bitter sweet than the Audrey LJ is coming to the end of her operational life but she has served Cardigan Bay well and has saved many lives. We want to thank everyone who has donated as, with the funds raised, we can keep on saving lives at sea and keep our volunteers safe with the correct equipment and training. If you would like to donate please go to https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/rnli-tour-de-dyfed-2023.”
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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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