The RNLI will hold its largest annual collection on London Lifeboat Day on 13 March, marking the end of a week of major collections during London Lifeboat Week.

This year's collection will have added meaning as the RNLI is setting-up three lifeboat stations on the tidal reaches of the Thames including one at Chiswick Pier as part of a new search and rescue service announced by John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister in January.

This is the first time that the charity has set-up lifeboat stations to specifically cover a river rather than estuarial waters.

On Lifeboat Day thousands of volunteers will take to the streets of London, clad in their bright yellow jackets and oilskins to collect for the charity.

Sue Clifton, RNLI Regional Manager for Greater London says;

'Londoners often ask where their nearest lifeboat station is. Until this year I have had to explain that hundreds of Londoners are rescued by RNLI lifeboats every year when they visit the coast.

This year I can say that London will have its own lifeboat stations by the beginning of next year. We are delighted that we can repay the support of Londoners over 177 years by providing this practical and expert lifesaving service.'