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New call to support our lifeboats

PUBLISHED: 16:16 23 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:38 26 December 2019

From left Angel, Darren and Phil Eaglen of the Wells lifeboat crew. Photograph: RNLI.

From left Angel, Darren and Phil Eaglen of the Wells lifeboat crew. Photograph: RNLI.

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As Christmas approaches, the RNLI is issuing its own call for help as new figures show that the charity's volunteer lifeboat crews are almost 10 times as busy over the festive period compared with 40 years ago.

Daisy and Molly O'Donnell with members of the Hunstanton lifeboat crew. The twins are backing the RNLI's new appeal. Picture: Brittany WoodmanDaisy and Molly O'Donnell with members of the Hunstanton lifeboat crew. The twins are backing the RNLI's new appeal. Picture: Brittany Woodman

The charity says it is facing a perfect storm with more people than ever needing its help, meaning support from the public is more vital than ever.

Last year, RNLI volunteers along the east coast of England experienced their joint busiest festive period since records began. There were 19 lifeboat launches along the east coast from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day, compared with just two launches 40 years ago.

Now the charity is running a major fundraising appeal called Perfect Storm, with the aim of raising £1.8M and recruiting 12,000 new supporters.

While many people will be thinking about presents, turkey and time with the family, dedicated RNLI volunteers from Norfolk's six RNLI stations will be ready to drop everyting and go to sea if a call comes in.

Long-serving RNLI volunteer Phil Eaglen joined Wells Lifeboat Station in 1967 and has dedicated an incredible 50 years of his life to saving others with the RNLI. This Christmas, joining him around the dinner table with their pagers close at hand will be his son and granddaughter, Darren and Angel, who like Mr Eaglen will be ready to respond if the call comes in.

Mr Eaglen, who joined Wells RNLI as a shore crew volunteer at the age of 17, said: "Christmas is no different to any other time of year, we'll still be on call ready to save lives and delay our own Christmas celebrations. We couldn't do what we do without the support of the public. The RNLI has experienced a shortfall in funds, but we are rescuing more people than ever before. We are facing the perfect storm and are calling on people to make a donation this Christmas to ensure we can continue saving lives at sea."

The RNLI's Perfect Storm appeal has been launched in response to some major challenges the charity is facing. In 2018, the RNLI's financial resources dropped by £28.6M, while its crews are busier than ever.

On Friday, twins Daisy and Molly O'Donnell visited Hunstanton Lifeboat Station to thank crew members who rescued them from drowning off Scolt Head Island in 2013, and to lend their support to the perfect storm campaign.

To support the appeal, click here.

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