The relay swim which is expected to take the two teams a gruelling 12 hours to complete, will raise funds for the RNLI and local Ayrshire charity, The Jo Walters Trust.
The group who call themselves the Arran TrooNautics are mostly all new to open water swimming but have trained hard for the past year to get to the point where their coach and experienced cross Channel swimmer, Chris Sifleet, is confident they can make the crossing.
Some of the team will be in wetsuits but many will not, enabling the swim to meet the criteria to be logged with the British Long Distance Swimming Association. Each swimmer will swim for an hour and then be replaced by the next swimmer, before taking to the water again to complete the 12 hour journey.
The motivations for doing the swim are varied but many of the team have young children and want to prove to themselves they can take on the challenge. They also want to raise awareness for families to make use of the sea and the beautiful beaches.
“We all have different strengths and are facing varying fears, including the cold, stamina, jellyfish, sea sickness, dark water, basking sharks to name but a few but we are all committed to complete the task and have a good party at the end,” said Annie Howie, whose idea it was to take on the challenge in 2015 when she heard about a group rowing from Arran to Ayr and thought she would like to swim the same piece of water.
Annie and her friends quickly recruited a team which has trained together, and individually, in a variety of ways, including swimming a combined 16 miles in the pool for Sport Relief, and doing a one mile swimming competition in Loch Ken.
“The commitment has been huge, training twice a week for over a year, with most of us having young families and jobs,” said Lucy Johnston, fellow teammate and founder of local charity the Jo Walters Trust, set up in memory of her sister Jo, who died aged 28 in a cycling accident.
Jo was passionate about the outdoors and Lucy hopes this will inspire others to follow Jo’s example of getting out and making the most of our natural surroundings. Some of the money raised from the swim will go to fund young carers in Ayrshire to go on an Outward Bound course and the rest of the money will go to the RNLI.
“Training has involved rats, eels, seals, slime, chilblains, wetsuit burns, fear of what lurks beneath the dark water, countless lonely lengths and early mornings and late nights, to name but a few,” adds Lucy. “This has not been a walk in the park but fingers crossed we have done enough to see us safely through to completion and reach our target of £10,000 for our charities.”
Donations to the fund can be made by visiting https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/arrantotroonswim
The swim will take place one day between 25 and 30 September, when the weather conditions are right with no more than force four windspeed and the water as calm as possible. The team will have 48 hours notice of the swim date.
The team consists of the following members: Annie Howie, Alice Vernon, Barbara Johnston, Bea Bound, Caoimhe Hunter Blair, Joanna Clapton, Katherine Self, Lorna Laidlaw, Lucy Johnston, Mark Johnston, Rhona Quarm, Vanessa Lawrence and Whirly Marshall.
The team would like to thank their coach Chris Sifleet and her team from Swim4Miles and Ayrdynamics Triathlon Club in Troon for the training sessions. They would also like to thank the RNLI and HM Coastguard for their valuable advice as well as Ian Jones from Clyde and West Coast Cruising who will support the team on the day with their two yachts and support boats.
For press enquiries, please contact Tracey O’Sullivan on 07970 395 924 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information on the Jo Walters Trust visit:
For further information on the RNLI contact Richard Smith, RNLI PR Manager for Scotland on 07786 668 903 or email email@example.com
or visit: http://www.rnli.org
Despite it being September and towards the end of the summer season RNLI lifeguards will still be patrolling 76 beaches this week and will be welcoming visitors to the coast. They are encouraging anyone visiting the coast to head to a lifeguarded beach, as they provide much greater safety for sunbathers, swimmers and water sports enthusiasts.
Operations Manager for Lifeguards, Brett Shepherd, said:
“With a forecast of sun and warm weather, hopefully people will head down to the coast to enjoy some of our wonderful beaches.
“We’d urge anyone planning on visiting a beach to check local information in advance and head to a lifeguarded beach. Before setting out, check tide times, read local safety signs or ask a lifeguard to tell you the times of high and low water.
“Swimmers should ensure that they respect the water and swim between the red and yellow flags, which mark out the safest area to swim and are patrolled by lifeguards. Please take heed of the safety signage and any advice offered by the lifeguards on duty.
‘By highlighting the dangers before visitors arrive at the beach, we hope that we can avoid potential incidents and everyone can enjoy their time on the beach safely.
The RNLI is also advising people to enjoy the sun safely by making sure they apply sunscreen generously, one with at least a factor 15, spend time in the shade when the sun is at its strongest between 11am-3pm and by wearing protectively kit such as a shirt, sunglasses or a cap.
Notes to Editor:
RNLI lifeguarded beaches this week
Southbourne,Fisherman’s Walk, Boscombe East, Boscombe West, Bournemouth East, Bournemouth West, Durley Chine, Alum Chine, Branksome Chine, Shore Road, Sandbanks,Weymouth, St Ouen’s, Le Braye, Watersplash, Plemont, Greve de Lecq, St Brelades, Bantham, Sedgewell Cove, Challaborough, Tregonhawke, Sharrow , Tregantle, Portreath, Poldhu Cove, Praa Sands, Gyllyngvase, Porthtowan, Chapel Porth, St Agnes, Perranporth, Perran Sands, Holywell Bay, Godrevy, Gwithian, Upton Towans, Beach View, Mexico Towans, Hayle Towans , Beach View, Mexico Towans, Hayle Towans, Porthminster, Porthmeor, Gwenver, Sennen, Porthcurno, Crantock, Fistral, Towan, Great, Western, Tolcarne, Porth, Watergate Bay, Mawgan Porth, Porthcothan, Treyarnon, Constantine, Booby’s, Harlyn, Trevone, Polzeath, Trebarwith, Black Rock, Widemouth, Summerleaze, Crooklets, Sandymouth, Westward Ho!, Sandymere, Croyde, Woolacombe, Aberdour Silver Sands,Crosby, Trecco Bay
For interview requests please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Alan Carr, Gravesend RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer
07775 822584, email@example.com
- Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East)
- For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
It may have been just another day for most of us, but 8 September found Alex Ellis-Roswell Thursday start day 768 on his quest to walk 9,500 miles around the UK coastline fundraising for the RNLI.
Thursday found Alex in South Ayrshire and heading north to Girvan RNLI Lifeboat Station. On arrival at the lifeboat station just after 7pm, Alex was greeted by some members of the crew where he had a chance to have a chat and get warmed up and refreshed.
He was then whisked away for his dinner which had kindly been donated by Simon and the staff at Flynn’s boatyard - Girvan RNLI is very grateful for their continued support. Some of the crew spent most of the evening with Alex, listening to tales and details of his journey so far.
Alex said: 'I’m not one for breaking records or being the fastest or anything like that, but I have met some wonderful people and amazing volunteer crews along the way, and I love the ‘craic’ at each place I visit.' He then retired to the Westcliffe Hotel for a good night’s rest.
Day 769 started with meeting some more of the crew at the station, with the added bonus of a newspaper photographer popping into the station at lunchtime, before Alex said: 'I'll be back soon, I'm just off out to collect some donations' - proving there’s no end to his dedication to fundraising.
Alex left Girvan early afternoon, with his sights set on Ayr, with plans for visiting Troon RNLI Lifeboat Station on Saturday 10 September. However, with the rain battering down and a 50mph plus westerly wind straight off the sea beating him back, slow progress was made during the course of the day.
When the crew found out that his planned accommodation in Ayr had fallen through, and with a good 15 miles ahead of him in worsening conditions, a quick bash of heads, a few phone calls later and Alex was soon whisked up and on his way back to Girvan for the night, to which we have to thank Sandra Horne from the Southfield Hotel also for her continued support and for kindly donating a room for Alex for the night.
The plans for Saturday 10 September (day 770) are still as before with arrival at Troon RNLI Lifeboat Station at some point late afternoon/evening.
Alex first started his journey on 3 August 2014 with an aim to raise as much money as possible for the RNLI, on what he anticipates will be a four-year project. With some estimated 20 million footsteps, the walk will see him pass through 64 counties and 8 national parks, visiting every lifeboat station along the way. Alex said whilst looking at station locations with the crew that 'covering the coastline and islands of Scotland during the winter will be one of the toughest things I have ever done.'
The 23-year old from Margate in Kent has, so far, walked 4,500 miles and raised more than £24,000 for the RNLI - smashing his initial target of £10,000. His route sees him go clockwise around Britain and Ireland and he has just finished walking the 2,500 mile coastline of Ireland.
After the passing of his father, Sir Raymond Ellis, at Christmas in 2013, Alex decided to walk the entire coast of Great Britain. He sold his business, gave up his flat and somewhat comfortable lifestyle, and set off on the journey of a lifetime. Before ill health, his father had spent much of his life dedicated to charity work and fundraising, which spurred Alex on to set himself a goal of raising £10,000 for the RNLI.
‘My dad’s ultimate stubbornness against what seemed to be a never ending cycle of illness, pain, operations and setbacks will always be a very personal inspiration to me’, said Alex.
Throughout his journey, Alex is fortunate enough to experience generous hospitality and help from a number of RNLI supporters and crews, many providing him with food, drinks and sometimes a bed for the night, to which he is as grateful to them as the RNLI is to him. Without people like Alex and the thousands of supporters and fundraisers up and down the country, the RNLI could not do what it does; save lives at sea.
The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations around the UK and Ireland and relies entirely on volunteers and donations to save an average of 23 lives per day. It's colunteers often get called heroes, however the real heroes are the people like Alex and the many other donors and fundraisers who continue to go to extremes to allow te volunteer crew members go out to sea in all weathers, be safe and save lives.
If you see Alex on your travels, with his recognisable yellow jacket, bulging backpack and RNLI collection tin, please give him your support, encouragement and even a donation. After all every little helps provide that little mental kick in the backside that makes it all worthwhile for him.
You can follow Alex’s journey around the UK by visiting his facebook page www.facebook.com/alexellisroswellor donate by visiting https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/longwalkroundor donate by visiting https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/longwalkround
RNLI media contacts
Craig Sommerville, Girvan Lifeboat Press Officer, 01465 714454, firstname.lastname@example.org
Henry Weaver, RNLI Press Officer for Scotland, 01738 642986, 07771 943026, email@example.com
Richard Smith, RNLI Public Relations Manager for Scotland, 01738 642956, 07786 668903, firstname.lastname@example.org
RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789RNLI online
The Station’s Atlantic 85 Lifeboat, Doris Joan, had launched into heavy seas earlier in the evening and had made its way towards Porthmadog fairway buoy at the mouth of the Glaslyn estuary to undertake some rough weather handling training. Shortly after arriving a crewmember spotted a drifting kite-board. Presuming that the board’s owner would be nearby and possibly still in the sea, the lifeboat began conducting a search of the area.
The crew spotted the casualty some distance away from the boat and in clear difficulty. The lifeboat recovered the kite-surfer and after completing a series of medical checks landed him safely ashore along with his equipment. Other members of the kite-surfing party already ashore were getting increasingly concerned about his safety and were preparing to call the emergency services when it became apparent that chance, and eagle-eyed crew members, had come to their friends rescue.
Following the rescue, Criccieth Lifeboat Operations Manager, Peter Williams commented “The kite-surfer was incredibly lucky to have been spotted by the Lifeboat’s crew. Had he been in the water much longer, his chances of survival would have been slim given the failing light and heavy sea conditions. This is the ninth life saved by the Criccieth lifeboats this year.”
For further information, please contact Criccieth Lifeboat Press Officer, Ifer Gwyn on 07554445316
The lifeboat was launched at 4.25am and rendezvoused with the yacht. After confirming that all was okay on board, a tow was rigged and a course was set for Milford Docks.
At the entrance to the Docks channel, the yacht was put into an alongside tow and taken to the Mackerel Stage, where it was safely secured.
With no more assistance required, the lifeboat was released to return to her station, where she was rehoused at 6.20am.
Note to editors
The photo shows Angle RNLI’s Tamar class all weather lifeboat Mark Mason launching.
Photo: Nick Leach/RNLI.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone Ted Goddard, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, Angle, on 01437 763675 or Danielle Rush, Public Relations Manager (Wales & the West) on 07786668829 or 01745585162 or by email: email@example.com or RNLI Public Relations on 01202336789
Before too long the collection was too big to keep in the house, it outgrew his dad’s storage at his shop. People started giving Robbie bottles of whisky as Christmas and birthday presents.
Robbie decided to donate proceeds of the sale to the RNLI at Kessock because of his connections with the sea, saying ‘RNLI volunteers are unsung heroes, giving up so much of their time. Often giving up your time as they do is more valuable than anything else. That’s why I decided to donate the proceeds of this sale to Kessock Lifeboat’
Recognising that the RNLI is a charity that receives no Government funding, auctioneer Grant MacPherson of Frasers Auction House significantly reduced their commission of the sale adding to the total raised by the whisky.
Dan Holland, a volunteer helmsman at Kessock said ‘When we heard about this auction we had no idea how much it might raise. But to raise over £8,000 is incredible. This will make a significant difference to helping save lives on the water around The Beauly and Moray Firths. As a crew, we’re very grateful to Robbie for this very generous donation’
Notes to Editors
• Details for attached pictures.
1. Whisky collection – shows some of the lots during the auction. Credit: RNLI
2. Fundraisers: Fundraisers from the Inverness and North Kessock Branch of the RNLI at the sale. L to R. Fiona Jack, Jackie Heation, Chairman Alison Marr, Robbie Munro, his mother Nicola Munro and Margaret Thomson. Credit: RNLI
• The RNLI recently launched its biggest water safety campaign in its history. Respect The Water aims to reduce the number of coastal drowning’s around the UK and Ireland by 2014. Full information here: http://rnli.org/safety/respect-the-water/Pages/Safety.aspx
Dan Holland, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, RNLI Kessock, 07900 567 496 firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Smith, RNLI Public Relations Manager for Scotland, 01738 642956, 07786 668903, email@example.com
Henry Weaver, RNLI Press Officer for Scotland, 01738 642946, 07771 943026, firstname.lastname@example.org
RNLI 24 hour Press Office, 01202 336789
The initial request to launch the lifeboat came from a member of the public who telephoned Barrow Lifeboat Station at about 11.45am to report that he could see the boys trying to cross the Channel from Barrow to the northern end of Walney Island.
The inshore lifeboat Vision of Tamworth was launched at 12.06pm with Jonny Long at the helm assisted by crewman Andy Baxter. The crew also informed Holyhead Coastguard of the decision to launch the lifeboat.
Upon arrival at the scene the two boys, aged nine and eleven, were found to have made their way safely back to the Barrow side of the Channel.
The boys were then handed over to Furness Coastguard who by now was also at the scene. The Coastguard team made sure the two boys were okay and gave them appropriate coastal safety advice.
The wind at the time was west north-westerly, force three to four. Visibility was good and high water was at 2.04pm with a height of 8.9 metres.
The inshore lifeboat was returned to the lifeboat station where it was washed down and made ready for the next launch.
Useful water safety advice is available by visiting the RNLI’s Respect the Water website at: www.respecthewater.com
The RNLI volunteer team at Barrow is grateful to the member of the public who raised the alarm today. However, as the lifeboat station is not manned 24 hours a day, the advice is always to raise the alarm by making an emergency 999 call and asking for the Coastguard who can then mobilise the most appropriate resources.
RNLI Media contacts
For more information please contact, Chris Clouter, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on: 07531 085900.
Nikky Williams,22, became a probationer crew member in July last year and completed her training last week. Her last training session was to assess her competence in the use of the lifeboat's radar system. Her assessor during the successful session was Will Elwood, the RNLI's divisional traineer.
Nikky, a sailing instructor in Lyme Regis, said:"I am delighted to have finished my training to become a fully qualified member of the lifeboat crew. I really enjoy the challenge and look forward to playing my part when we answer emergency calls."
One of the long-serving members of the Lyme Regis crew, senior helm Tim Edwards, said:"Nikky has done very well in her training, which was helped by her experience as a sailing instructor. She will be a valuable addition to the crew, and we hope her example will encourage more female volunteers to come forward."
Nikky is only the second female member of the Lyme Regis RNLI crew. The first was Grace Wadsworth who joined when she was 17 in 2008 and left after six years to go to university and travel.