A team of eight staff members from construction firm BAM Nuttall went on to win the event.
This spectacular event saw nine teams of eight people from a range of organisations competing to pull an operational 14-tonne, 11-and-a-half metre long Mersey class all-weather lifeboat a quarter-of-a-mile in the quickest time possible – with crowds of people cheering the teams on.
The huge orange lifeboat was situated on a low loader during the event, creating a lung-busting combined weight of 37 tonnes for the teams to pull through the iconic central London park.
The team from BAM Nuttall pulled this colossal load in the lightning-quick time of six minutes and one second. The construction company has strong links with the RNLI, having worked under contract for the RNLI on a number of building projects.
The Big Lifeboat Pull took place on North Carriage Drive, Hyde Park, with the charity hoping to raise at least £20,000 through the event to help save lives at sea. Competing teams paid £500 to enter the event and were set a fundraising target of £2,000. The total amount raised will not be known until all of the sponsorship money has been submitted to the RNLI from the competing teams.
Richard Hayman, Contracts Manager at BAM Nuttall, was the winning team’s captain. He said: ‘We are all over the moon to win this event. None of us expected to win and we’ve all had a fantastic day.
‘We have raised over half of our fundraising total already and we’re hopeful we will beat the £2,000 target.’
Chairman of the RNLI, Charles Hunter-Pease, attended the Big Lifeboat Pull and cheered all of the teams on. He said: ‘The Big Lifeboat Pull was a fantastic event and a great spectacle. Everyone who took part really enjoyed it, although it was a lot tougher than the teams were expecting. All those who came along to support the teams seemed to have a great time.
‘Fundraising events like this are so important to our charity, as they provide us with valuable funds which we invest into saving lives at sea. We can only go out and rescue those in trouble at sea because of the generosity of the public, as we depend on donations.
‘This event provided us with a great opportunity to take an operational all-weather lifeboat to London. All-weather lifeboats are based around the coasts of the UK and Ireland, and so people inland don’t often get to see them.’
A variety of organisations competed in the Big Lifeboat Pull today. Legal eagles competed against brewers, energy company staff took on asset managers and insurers went up against construction industry workers.
Windsor and Eton Brewery entered a team which had Olympic rower Adam Freeman-Pask among their ranks. Their team finished the course in a very respectable six minutes and 56 seconds. Bob Morrison, one of the founders of the Windsor and Eton Brewery, captained the team. He said: ‘It was incredibly tough, but incredibly fun.
‘We’ve been spreading the word about the RNLI, making people realise that they don’t just exist on the coast. I’m not brave enough to do what the crews do on the lifeboats, but I was brave enough to take on this challenge.’
Humber Lifeboat Coxswain Dave Steenvoorden hosted the Big Lifeboat Pull from on board the Mersey class boat. He said: ‘This was an absolutely fantastic day and the effort that all the teams put in was incredible. I was glad to be stood on top of the lifeboat being pulled along the course, rather than having to be one of the people pulling it!’
The lifeboat that the teams pulled at the event is called Inchcape and she is the Mersey class all-weather lifeboat normally based at Arbroath lifeboat station in Scotland. Inchcape travelled to Hyde Park from RNLI HQ in Poole, Dorset, yesterday after having a re-fit at the south coast town. She will travel on to Arbroath Lifeboat Station to resume her lifesaving service after the event. Last year, Inchcape was launched 22 times with her volunteer crew rescuing 19 people, and the boat racked up 314 hours of service at sea.
Notes to editors
• Organisations that entered teams to compete in the Big Lifeboat Pull, and their event times, are listed below.
o Aberdeen Asset Management – eight minutes and 12 seconds
o BAM Nuttall – six minutes and 1 second
o Centrica Energy (team one) – seven minutes and 59 seconds
o Centrica Energy (team two) – six minutes and 40 seconds
o Charles Russell – six minutes and 34 seconds
o RNLI (team one) – seven minutes and 41 seconds
o RNLI (team two) – eight minutes and 38 seconds
o RSA Insurance – 6 minutes and 50 seconds
o Windsor & Eton Brewery – six minutes and 56 seconds
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Luke Blissett, Public Relations Officer, on 07836 511633 / firstname.lastname@example.org or Philly Byrd, RNLI Press Officer on 07786 668825 / email@example.com. Alternatively, call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.