Stoke Gifford Stadium, the home of Bristol City Women’s Football Club, saw a training session with a spin this week.
Sporting stars from the first team – Millie Farrow, Lauren Hemp and Aimee Palmer - traded their usual football colours for the RNLI’s bright yellow lifeboat gear, in a bid to encourage local fundraising for the charity.
For the first time, the RNLI has worked with Helly Hansen to design an all-weather lifeboat kit specifically tailored for women. It’s a better fit for their female volunteer crew members, allowing them to move more freely – just what they need when saving lives at sea.
The Bristol City Women’s FC put the kit through its paces to test the increased flexibility. Millie Farrow, from the team explains why the new kit is a score: 'The RNLI’s new kit certainly made it over the line with us! It’s surprisingly flexible and lightweight, and the fit is very comfortable – just what their crew members need for their lifesaving rescue work. The volunteer lifeboat crews are on call 24 hours a day, every day, to save lives at sea. They are true heroes.'
The RNLI’s annual Mayday fundraising campaign runs throughout May. This year, the charity aims to raise £750,000 to fund the vital new lifesaving kits for their 4,800 selfless volunteers across the UK & Ireland, 8% of which are women.
Susan Beaton, RNLI volunteer crew member, from the Portishead lifeboat station, who joined in the kit swap explains: 'We all depend on our kit to keep us warm, dry and safe whilst we get on with the job of saving lives at sea. Having the right kit allows us to focus on the task in hand. People can drown in in a matter of minutes, so we can’t waste time worrying that things don’t fit or don’t work to protect us from the elements. It’s why the Mayday campaign is so important, raising money to fund the essential kit we rely on every time the call comes in.'
Ellie Walker, RNLI Community Fundraising Manager for Bristol says: 'We rely on donations from the public to help us stay on the water. This year we’re asking the public to get creative and go yellow throughout the month of May to help us raise money for our life-saving kits. Our RNLI yellow wellies cost £54 a pair, a lifejacket £458 and a safety helmet £263. Having the right kit can mean the difference between life and death – for our crews and the people they are rescuing.'
RNLI volunteers are on standby day and night, to drop everything in an instant to save lives on waterways and at sea. In 2017 these crews launched 8,436 times, aiding 8,072 people. RNLI lifeboat crews in the South West alone launched 1,224 times, aiding 1,152 people.
To find a Mayday event near you, or to download a fundraising pack, visit RNLI.org/Mayday.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.
Learn more about the RNLI
For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries
Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.