Special diplomatic mission takes fundraisers from the Foreign Office on 250 mile cycle ride for new lifeboat in Wells

Jon and Claire Davies at Wells Lifeboat with crew members (left to right) Greg
Hewitt, Phil Eaglen,

Jon and Claire Davies at Wells Lifeboat with crew members (left to right) Greg Hewitt, Phil Eaglen, Ray West, Martin Emerson and lifeboat chairman Peter Rainsford. Picture: RNLI - Credit: Archant

A husband and wife team from the UK's Foreign Office have completed a fundraising cycle ride to help raise money for a new lifeboat in Wells.

Jon and Claire Davies stand by the Wells lifeboat after completing their epic 250 mile cycle ride fr

Jon and Claire Davies stand by the Wells lifeboat after completing their epic 250 mile cycle ride from London. Picture: RNLI - Credit: Archant

Jon Davies, director of the Diplomatic Academy, and his wife Claire, a ministerial speechwriter at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, completed the 250 mile cycle ride from London to Wells on Tuesday, May 23.

They arrived at the Boathouse in Wells just 20 minutes after their scheduled time of 1pm and were greeted by members of Wells Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboat crew.

The journey had begun on Friday, May 19, when they set off from the London Tower Lifeboat Station. From there they cycled to Wells via the Suffolk coast, passing the Southwold and Lowestoft lifeboat stations along the way.

The couple's cycle ride is part of a major effort to raise money for the RNLI so that they can buy a new Shannon class lifeboat for Wells to replace the current 25 year old Mersey class boat, which is soon to be taken out of service.


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So far the cycle ride has raised £910.80 but after additional donations through Gift Aid that figure is expected to grow to over £1,000.

They need to raise £1.1million in order to secure the new lifeboat and through the Civil Service Lifeboat Fund, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, civil service personnel have already raised close to £900,000.

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Commenting on the importance of raising the money, John Mitchell, press officer for Wells lifeboat, said: 'The existing lifeboat is 26 years old and it has come to the end of its life as an RNLI lifeboat. The new lifeboat will give us increased range, more speed and the ability to manoeuvre in waters where the existing one can't'

As Mr and Mrs Davies completed the journey they said they were pleased to have finished but their fund raising efforts were far from over.

On Wednesday, May 24, they returned to London to take part in a Foreign Office sponsored walk, which is part of the RNLI's Mayday campaign, to raise £750,000 to help fund vital kit needed for lifeboat crews.

As a charity the RNLI operates separate from government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since it was founded lifeboat crews and lifeguards are estimated to have saved more than 140,000 lives.

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