London's Lifeboat Fundraising Day

Local rail and tube stations transformed into hubs of lifeboat themed activity

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London’s mainline train stations and tube stops will be a hub of lifeboat themed activity next Tuesday when the Royal National Lifeboat Institution holds its annual collection – London Lifeboat Day.

On Tuesday 5th May, fundraisers from the charity that saves lives at sea and on the River Thames in London will be out in force whipping up support to help its volunteer crew members and beach lifeguards continue their efforts to save lives.

Across the city of Greater London and its surrounding boroughs, RNLI collectors will be on hand to talk about the RNLI’s dedication to helping those in peril and hoping to raise much needed funds to support the vital training for its crew members and lifeguards. The total raised during last year’s London Lifeboat Day was £145,000 and while today’s economic climate is vastly different to then, the RNLI is hopeful it can at least match, if not exceed, this amount.

In 2008 alone, two of the RNLI lifeboat stations on the River Thames – namely Tower and Chiswick – were the busiest in the country. Lifeboats from Tower lifeboat station – situated beneath Waterloo Bridge – launched a staggering 403 times and rescued 99 people from the icy depths of the River Thames. Chiswick, situated at Corney Reach further up river, launched 149 times and rescued 42 people.

Stuart Willson, Fundraising and Communications Manager for the RNLI in London, said: ‘There are still people who are not aware that the RNLI receives no Government funding and relies entirely on voluntary contributions for its services. Furthermore, there are people who aren’t aware RNLI lifeboats are in service on the River Thames and we regularly get tasked to assist where people end up in the river, be it by accident or their own action.

‘Even though the RNLI is perhaps most well known for its operations around the coast of the UK and the Republic of Ireland, Tower and Chiswick lifeboat stations were the two busiest out of a total of 237 lifeboat stations in 2008.

‘London Lifeboat Day is our specific day when we take to the streets with a heartfelt plea to the public to help support us and keep this vital, lifesaving service afloat.’

Stuart also acknowledged the difficult climate in which the RNLI operates, when he said, ‘This is a rather unusual time to be a charity – many people are feeling the pinch of the economic climate but, equally, charities are affected in the same way and people’s support is needed now more than ever. Any donation to us will be used to the best possible effect and we would reassure supporters that any donations will go directly to help save lives at sea and on the River Thames.’

People who live and work in the city are also being reminded of the vital service that RNLI lifeguards provide on hundreds of beaches around the UK. For those city dwellers who decamp to the coast for holidays or days out, lifeguards are a reassuring presence and one which can often mean the difference between life and death.’

To find out more about the RNLI or to make a donation, log on to and look out for RNLI collectors all across London on Tuesday 5th May, London Lifeboat Day.

May 1, 2009