Volunteer lifesavers put out a ‘mayday’ of their own

The RNLI is running a 'Mayday' fundraising appeal in May. Picture: RNLI

The RNLI is running a 'Mayday' fundraising appeal in May. Picture: RNLI - Credit: Archant

They risk their lives to help those in peril on the sea, but now it's the volunteers from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) who are putting out a mayday.

RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews across the UK and Ireland launched 8,964 times in 2018, rescuing 9,412 people – an increase of 17pc on 2017.

And throughout May, the RNLI is running a 'Mayday' campaign hoping to raise £700,000 to fund the crucial kit crews rely on including lifejackets, helmets and the service's iconic yellow wellies.

The RNLI operates stations around the coast including at Wells, Sheringham, Cromer, Hunstanton, Happisburgh, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Southwold.

Chris Hardy, volunteer lifeboat operations manager, said they were hoping groups and individuals would run their own fundraisers for the RNLI.

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Mr Hardy said: 'RNLI volunteer crew members drop everything when the pagers go off, and RNLI lifeboat crew kit gives each volunteer the confidence to face all weathers and sea conditions to help those in trouble at sea. The right kit really is vital in helping to make sure they return home safely to their families from every launch.

'The RNLI's Mayday fundraiser is our own call for help, and we're asking people to 'do their bit to fund our kit' throughout May.

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'There are all sorts of ways to fundraise for the RNLI's Mayday.

'From wearing wellies to work or doing a sponsored welly walk, to holding a bake sale or doing a sponsored cycle ride. Anyone can register for a free fundraising pack by visiting RNLI.org/Mayday.'

Anyone who wants to get involved can visit RNLI.org/Mayday to register for a Mayday pack, which details fundraising ideas such as encouraging friends and colleagues to plan a wear-yellow fundraiser, getting sponsored to run, walk or cycle, cooking up some yellow-themed bakes to sell or even getting together to lift the weight of a 32-tonne Tamar class lifeboat.

The RNLI is made up of 4,900 volunteer lifeboat crew members providing a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts.

It now costs £2,161 to provide one all-weather lifeboat crew member with all the kit they need when responding to the call for help.

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