Don Your Wellies To Help Save Lives

RNLI calls for the scrapping of sandals to take part in special fundraising family fun day

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Lifeboats charity, the RNLI, is calling on residents to scrap their summer sandals, throw away their flip flops, and don a pair of Wellington boots to take part in a special fundraising family fun day.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which has four lifeboat stations on the River Thames, is holding a fundraising ‘Welly Walk’ in August, and is inviting every man, woman and child to grab their gumboots and help raise the essential funds which enable it to save lives.

The welly walk will be the main attraction of a wider day of activities in central London on Sunday 12 September, and will involve a sponsored walk - either two or four kilometres - in boots of your choosing. The wellington boot theme was inspired by the yellow boots that lifeboat crew members wear on rescues as part of their protective clothing, which are as iconic as the signature blue and orange colours of the RNLI fleet.

But in addition, wearing wellies will add a fun and colourful element to the fundraising day, every penny of which will support the many volunteers who risk their own safety to man RNLI lifeboats in London and around the coast of the UK and republic of Ireland.

Christina Tomlinson, RNLI Events Manager for London and the south east, explained more: ‘The RNLI’s London welly walk gives us an opportunity to do something colourful and fun for all the family. When I picture in my head hundreds of people all strolling through central London, all sporting different coloured wellies, it always brings a smile to my face!

‘Wellington boots might be the furthest footwear from anybody’s mind in the recent sunny weather, but our lifeboat crew members on the Thames are dressed in their protective gear all throughout their 12 hour shifts. This is a way to have a bit of fun as well as raise the funds that, as a charity, we rely on to save lives.’

As well as the welly walks, starting and ending at Victoria Embankment Gardens, there will be assorted entertainment including live music, RNLI souvenirs, an RNLI education roadshow, and activities for children such as face painting. .

The walk begins at 10am from Victoria Embankment Gardens, next to Embankment tube station – see map for details . There is an entry fee in advance of £5 adults, £3 children, with no charge for children under five – all participants are required to register in advance. As well as the entry fee going towards the RNLI, participants are also asked to raise £40 in sponsorship – the cost of a pair of RNLI yellow crew boots.

There will be a choice of either a two or four kilometre walk, with each participant wearing their own wellington boots. Both will be a completely flat course, so the walks are suitable for everyone regardless of age, fitness or mobility.

The RNLI held welly walks in January in Brighton, Eastbourne, Rye Harbour, Bracknell, Dorking and Walmer. and hope to top their success with the help of Londoners.

Christina added: ‘Imagine how unusual it would look to have hundreds of in a line, all in their wellies, snaking their way down Victoria Embankment. People on the London Eye will think the city has gone mad! Motorists will do a double take! And the photos will definitely be something to show the grandchildren!

‘Please help the RNLI by registering in advance for what promises to be a bizarre and unforgettable experience.’

To find out more, or to register for the welly walk see

August 10, 2010