‘Six on Saddles’ raise money for Exmouth RNLI
On 20 January, six members of the Exmouth RNLI lifeboat volunteer crew cycled around the Exe estuary to raise money for the launch and recovery vehicle for their new Shannon-class lifeboat, due by early 2014.
The team comprising an airline pilot, a life coach, a dentist, a nurse, a boatyard worker and a maritime security professional; left Dawlish football ground at 10.30am. Mark, Paul, Hedley, Lee, Steve and David were dressed in full all-weather lifeboat kit – yellow wellies, lifeboat leggings, jackets and helmets. Three of the crew volunteers strapped foam S O S letters to their backs to publicise the national life-saving at sea charity’s fundraising day (25 January). They were relieved of their lifejackets as they had said that they didn’t want to go ‘overboard’.
Along the 22 mile route, Steve’s road bike tyres fared well even cycling over the bumpy riverside cycle route between Starcross and Turf Locks. The only problem they encountered was when Lee’s gears stuck in one gear near Topsham Sailing Club. Luckily, the team were assisted by Chris Warburton of Knobblies bike shop who was following close behind. Also escorting the cyclists in a lifeguard 4X4 vehicle were Drs Colin May and Peter Aitken, ready to provide first aid cover. Organiser Mark ‘Max’ Champion commented;
‘Although it was cold, we managed to keep to the time pretty well. The only part of the route we were tight on time was Darts Farm to Lympstone Sailing Club. People were approaching us to put money in our bucket and we had a nice reception from everywhere we stopped. We were even treated to bacon sandwiches at Starcross Fishing and Cruising Club!’
Other sailing clubs along the route joined in the fundraising. Topsham Sailing Club kindly presented the team with a cheque for £100 and Exe Sailing Club donated 50p from each meal sold on the day to the event. Darts Farm kindly provided a quick ‘packed lunch’ for the volunteers in their award-winning café. Volunteer Sea Safety Officer, Peter Williams was on hand at Darts Farm to offer advice and a free lifejacket clinic all day.
On reaching the boathouse at 3.15pm, the cyclists were greeted to a round of applause where a crowd had gathered to greet them. Caz Ashman, volunteer Lifeboat Visits Officer was over-seeing the entertainment provided;
‘I started off with hot drinks outside at 11.15am as soon as the urn was full – I hadn’t even had time to get the milk! I spent 5 hours almost non-stop as they kept coming. Once the all-weather lifeboat, Margaret Jean was pushed out of the boathouse at 1.30pm, we attracted lots of attention. The ladies from the fundraising guild were busy all afternoon, sometimes in sub-zero temperatures. Together with the cake stall, bucket collection and raffle, we raised an extra £300 towards the event. The fabulous Exmouth Shanty Men added an extra dimension and we’re very grateful for their support.’
Photo gallery can be seen here
• You can continue to sponsor Six On Saddles at www.virginmoneygiving.com/sixonsaddles until 31 March. To date (21 Jan), the amount raised has reached £1,000.