Chiswick RNLI Volunteer Takes 'Water' Challenge

Rowan Johnson raising money by drinking only H2O

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Rowan Johnson – British Red Cross worker by day and Chiswick RNLI volunteer by night – is going one step further for charity and taking on the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s (RNLI) H2Only challenge. Rowan, alongside thousands of other people across the UK and Ireland, will forego her morning cuppa and her favourite tipple and only drink water for two weeks from Tuesday 27 May to raise valuable funds for the RNLI.

Chiswick RNLI Volunteer Takes 'Water' Challenge

Growing up near the Northumbrian coast, as a child Rowan Johnson, 37, dreamt of joining an RNLI lifeboat crew. So when she moved to Putney in 2012, Rowan took her chance to apply to be a volunteer lifeboat crew member; she’s still over the moon that she was accepted into the crew. Volunteering as an RNLI lifeboat crew member since December 2012, Rowan is now, more than ever, aware of the life-saving work the RNLI does on the Thames 24/7. While the Thames might not seem as hazardous as our coastal waters, it is tidal and holds many dangers. Chiswick is the second busiest lifeboat station in the UK, second only to central London’s Tower lifeboat station.

When on lifeboat duty, Rowan travels straight from her Moorgate work base to do a 12-hour overnight shift at Chiswick, before getting the train straight back to the office the next morning. She’s even put her training into action when commuting: Rowan said: ‘There have been a couple of times when travelling to and from the RNLI’s Chiswick lifeboat station that I've had to put my RNLI training to use to offer first aid to a fellow commuter, something I could not have done before joining the lifeboat crew.’

Rowan knows the H2Only challenge is going to be tough as it adds a challenge to her already rigorous daily routine. She commented: ‘I have a ritual of starting my day with a cup of tea, and will miss having a beer at the weekend, so H2Only is going to test me! But fundraising to help this incredible rescue service will definitely be worth it.’

Last year, RNLI lifeboat crews on the Thames carried out 430 rescues, saving 30 lives. There are four RNLI lifeboat stations on the Thames; Chiswick, Tower, Teddington and Gravesend.

When on duty with the RNLI, Rowan thinks of all the families and friends of the people the she is helping. She said: ‘I always think of all those people's families and friends, as well as the person themselves, and that gives me all the motivation I need to work hard on my training and whilst on duty.’

May 23, 2014