Great Success For First 'Alternative Boat Race'

Hundred of mini lifeboats involved in the RNLI fundraiser

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For more information please contact: Alastair McCormick
T: 020 7611 3665
M: 07792 891 326

Juliet Keane

The RNLI's website

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The first RNLI Alternative Boat Race took place on the River Thames yesterday (Sunday 6 April) near Kew, with RNLI ambassador and Olympic rowing silver medallist Rob Williams starting the race. Local crew members from nearby Chiswick were amongst those whose boat-handling skills were really put to the test, on a miniature scale.

The event was held only a short distance from where the day's major sporting event, the University Boat Race, finished at Chiswick Bridge.

Rob Williams starting the first ever RNLI Alternative Boat Race on the Thames. Pic- RNLI

A total of 250 mini lifeboats took to the River Thames at approximately 5pm on a short course between Syon Reach and the London Apprentice Pub in Isleworth, London to raise vital funds and awareness for the RNLI.

Delayed slightly from the proposed start time by tidal conditions, the sponsored boats still took to the water in the floating race accompanied by London lifeboat crews from Tower, Teddington and Chiswick lifeboat stations. Manor Park Sailing Club, from Staffordshire, were crowned winners of the race. Out of the Oxford and Cambridge women’s rowing teams that entered, Cambridge came first.

Olympic rower Adam Freeman-Pask will deliver a rowing master class to Manor Park Boating Club, as their prize for winning the race.

Two RNLI crew members collect the mini Severn class lifeboats following the race Pic-RNLI

The RNLI broadcast the event live on its YouTube channel yesterday. This was the first time the charity has ever run a live online broadcast on its YouTube channel.

Wayne Bellamy, Chiswick Lifeboat Station Manager said: ‘It was great to finally see the spectacle of 250 miniature lifeboats on the Thames today and we hope our supporters viewing from the riverbanks and online enjoyed the fun of the day.

‘While our crews are always on call to provide their 24-hour rescue service, today their boat-handling skills were really put to the test, on a miniature scale.’

The RNLI Alternative Boat Race was started by RNLI ambassador and Olympic medallist, Rob Williams. Rob won a silver medal in the closest and most exciting race of the Olympic regatta in 2010 and won World Championship gold in 2010. Rob is proud to be supporting a charity that helped to save his life 2009. He said: ‘The RNLI provides an essential service which helps us to conduct our sport, and many other activities, safely.’

Last year, the RNLI rescued 67 rowers across the UK and Ireland – that’s more than one rower rescued per week. Lifeboat crews of London Lifeboat Stations Tower, Chiswick and Teddington launched 733 times in 2013, rescuing 372 people from the River Thames and saving 25 lives.

April 7, 2014