VOLUNTEER RNLI crews across Wales’ 30 lifeboat stations and seasonal lifeguards have continued saving lives at sea on our coastline, despite the pandemic. This would not have been possible without an army of fundraisers, who have continued to think up innovative ways to raise funds during these challenging times.
With lifeboat stations and retail outlets closed and fundraising events cancelled during lockdowns, our dedicated supporters have continued to think up ways to support the RNLI. According to tradition, in his last sermon St David told his followers to ‘Do the little things’/ ‘Gwnewch y pethau bychain’. This St Davids Day, the RNLI is paying tribute to all those who thought up new ways big or small to help the charity to continue to save lives at sea.
With schools and gyms closed, fundraisers have embraced the opportunity to exercise in innovative ways and turn their efforts into challenges.
One of those inspirational fundraisers is Deb Blackburne, a volunteer in the Rhyl RNLI shop. Deb who works at Glan Clwyd Hospital decided to ditch public transport and walk to work every day, raising over £1,000. Deb set herself the challenge of walking the equivalent length John O’ Groats to Lands End, a distance of 1086 miles all in aid of the RNLI.
Virtual bike rides were particularly popular during the summer, with Flint’s Lifeboat Operations Manager cycling the 874-mile virtual bike distance from ‘John O Groats to Lands’ End’ on his 70th birthday – all from his front garden. A similar cycle challenge at Barry Dock RNLI Lifeboat Station saw keen cyclists virtually visit the 30 lifeboat stations across Wales, raising over £4,000 to keep lifeboat crews afloat.
Our youngest fundraising champion was nine-year-old Gruffydd Morris from Rhondda Cynnon Taff who took it upon himself to swim 5,000m, cycle 100 miles and run a marathon over a 12 week period, raising £515 for the RNLI.
Abersoch RNLI raised over £800 by completing 169 miles running, 278 miles walking, 12 miles hiking and a staggering 1,079 cycling and six miles on a cross trainer.
The extra support will help the charity purchase additional PPE, which last year amounted to almost 700,000 face masks, 2.4 million gloves and just under 5,000 litres of hand sanitiser.
RNLI Fundraising and Partnership Lead in Wales Nick Evans says:
‘During these exceptionally challenging times, the RNLI has continued to save lives across the Welsh coast. They wouldn’t have been able to do this without our supporters thinking outside the box and fundraising in a Covid-secure way. As the RNLI is such a big organisation, people sometimes don’t see how their donation will make a difference but every penny really does count and we are so grateful.
‘The RNLI is at the heart of communities and some of these kind gestures really show the close affinity communities have with their local stations and respect they have for our crews and lifeguards. This St Davids Day we’d like to thank everyone for doing the little things and urge them to continue doing so and help us weather the storm.’