The book is set on a wet and windy Christmas Eve night and most children are tucked up in bed. But when Santa crashes his sleigh in the sea, volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew members go to the rescue – with the help of a very special child.
Rory, from the Parkstone area of Poole, is editor of the charity’s Lifeboat magazine. Based at RNLI HQ in Poole, Dorset, he has written many stories of heroism and drama over the 10 years he’s worked for the lifesaving charity.
‘I wrote the story in the build up to Christmas 2013 and was able to try it out on the most honest and beautiful critics I could possibly have found, my daughters Lucie and Hattie. It is wonderful to see this book being well-loved by kids, introducing them to the RNLI as well as raising money to help keep volunteer lifeboat crews equipped, trained and safe,’ said Rory, who wrote much of the book in his spare time.
The name, gender and skin tone of the child at the heart of this wonderful festive story can be selected when ordering the book, making it a truly unique gift. So whether this book is being bought for a son or daughter, a grandchild, niece or nephew – the little loved one will be thrilled to flick through the pages and see themselves at the centre of the story.
This exciting, personalised tale of Christmas courage gives children a magical introduction to the work of the RNLI’s volunteer lifesavers, while raising lifesaving funds for the charity.
Chris Speers, volunteer crew member at Poole lifeboat station, said: ‘The Big Christmas Rescue can be personalised so that your little loved one is the star of the story. It is a lovely book and it will make an ideal gift for young children, with all profits helping the RNLI save lives at sea. This Christmas, volunteer lifeboat crew members across the UK and Ireland will be on call, ready to drop everything and save lives at sea when the pager goes off.’
The Big Christmas Rescue is beautifully illustrated by the award-winning Hannah Cumming. The Bristol illustrator was shortlisted for the Portsmouth Book Award in 2012 for her book The Lost Stars and has also written and illustrated two other books – The Cloud and The Red Boat. She has illustrated for the NSPCC and CBeebies, and has painted a Gromit sculpture for the hugely popular Gromit Unleashed trail in Bristol.
Hannah, 31 and from Bristol, said: 'It was such a pleasure illustrating this book, not least because it's the sort of lovely, heart-warming Christmas story I used to read every Christmas Eve as a child. But also because it was an opportunity to celebrate the vital work the brave RNLI volunteers carry out all year round.'
The book is priced at £9.95 and is available to order online at RNLISHOP.org/BigRescue. The last order date for The Big Christmas Rescue to guarantee delivery before Christmas is Monday 15 December 2014.
RNLI lifeboat crews launched 122 times across the UK and Ireland during last year’s festive period*, rescuing 62 people and saving five lives – with six launches taking place on Christmas day.
Notes to editors
• Rory Stamp may be available for interviews. To request an interview, please contact Luke Blissett, RNLI Public Relations Officer, on 01202 663184 or email Luke_Blissett@rnli.org.uk.
• *The festive period referred to was from 23 December 2013 to 1 January 2014 for lifeboat stations in England, Wales and Ireland and to 2 January 2014 for stations in Scotland.