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Littlestone RNLI Volunteers called out during charity car wash

Lifeboats News Release

Littlestone RNLI charity car wash was interrupted at 1.22pm by a call out to reports of a missing child

Next car to roll through car wash

RNLI/Hannah Maguire

Next one please

Littlestone RNLI fundraising and crew volunteers joined together for a charity car wash at Littlestone Lifeboat Station on Saturday morning (13 April). The day of soap suds started at ten o'clock in the morning. During the day there was an almost constant stream of vehicles, from the smallest to a very large recreational vehicle. The local Coastguard Unit also brought down their 4x4 vehicle for a wash, although this wasn't going to be the only visit to the station that day.

The car wash was in its last hour of operation when the RNLI volunteer crew’s pagers sounded at 1.22pm with an immediate launch request. The launch authority contacted Dover Coastguard to find out more information. The lifeboat was tasked to reports of a missing child at Dymchurch, last seen at the water’s edge. With the crew already assembled for the charity car wash, the Littlestone lifeboat ‘Jean McIvor’ was launched quickly. The neighbouring Dungeness RNLI lifeboat was also tasked to the incident along with the Coastguard helicopter from Lydd and the Romney Marsh Coastguard Unit from Littlestone.

Minutes later the lifeboat arrived at the scene of the incident and crew member Ron Thrall swam a short distance to the shore. He approached a member of the public who had signalled towards the lifeboat and had found the missing child Shortly afterwards, police arrived and took care of the child before reuniting them with the worried parents. After his earlier swim and cleaning numerous cars, Ron was feeling a little bit worn out so hitched a lift back to the lifeboat station with the Romney Marsh Coastguard for their second visit of the day.

The last wash of the day was of the lifeboat and tractor unit, and the volunteers took this in their stride after a day of washing vehicles. Sarah Thrall, the Chair of the RNLI Volunteer Fundraising Branch Littlestone Events Team who organised the event, said 'The whole day proved to be a great success on all fronts, with over £800 raised to save lives at sea and a positive outcome to the day’s call-out.'

Notes to editors

The RNLI has some safety advice on what to do if a child goes missing at the beach

• Calmly check the surroundings first, ensuring other children remain supervised.

• Contact the lifeguards or police and keep them informed.

• Let all searchers know once the child is found.

RNLI media contacts

  • Clinton Marshall, Lifeboat Press Officier, Littlestone Lifeboat Station on 07758 616581 [email protected]
  • John Kenny, Lifeboat Press Officer, Littlestone Lifeboat Station on 07747 033443 john[email protected]
  • Julie Rainey, RNLI Regional Communications Lead on 07827 358256 [email protected]
  • Hatti Mellor, RNLI Regional Communications Manager (London/East/South East) on 07724 801305[email protected]

· For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789 or [email protected]

Large recreational vehicle in back ground for crew to wash

RNLI/Hannah Maguire

Our largest vehicle of the day
Coast Guard Vehicle being washed

RNLI/Sarah Thrall

HM Coast Guard Romney Marsh
Car wash continues whilst lifeboat launches

RNLI/Clare Young

The show must go on
Lifeboat being recovered into drive on drive off trailer

RNLI/John Kenny

Lifeboat recovery
The final car wash of the day of the tractor and lifeboat following the call out

RNLI/John Kenny

The final car wash

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.