Byline: Former presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Shipping Forecast, Alice Arnold, revisits Cromarty, Hebrides, Dogger and Humber, as she reads the ‘Mayday Forecast’ and urges the public to support the RNLI’s Mayday campaign this bank holiday.
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The ‘Mayday Forecast’ follows the well-known rhythm and regions of this established British bulletin, but instead of predicting weather conditions, it predicts the number of distress calls the RNLI will respond to this year.
Maritime distress calls can come in 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with 4,700 volunteer crew members across the UK and Ireland on standby to drop everything in an instant to save lives at sea. The RNLI’s Mayday campaign, running over this bank holiday weekend, is its own call for help – to raise the money needed to keep the charity and its 237 lifeboat stations operating.
Based on 2015 figures, the Mayday Forecast predicts approximately 8,200 people will be rescued and
hundreds of lives will be saved by the RNLI’s volunteer crews  around the coasts of the UK and Ireland in 2016. If 2015 is anything to go by, lifeboat crews will spend over 229,000 hours at sea.
Forecast predictions demonstrate the scale of the RNLI’s rescue operations. The lifesaving charity relies on the generosity of the public and the forecast urges listeners to support this year’s Mayday campaign.
These include:
·         North East including Tyne, Dogger and Humber. 597 call outs. 1 rescue in force 11 violent storm conditions, 3 rescues in force 10 storms. 682 people rescued. 32 lives saved’
·         ‘Republic of Ireland including Fastnet, Shannon. 829 call outs. Range of conditions, often rough. 1 launch in force 11 storm conditions. 965 people rescued and 24 lives saved’
·         ‘Hunstanton to Dungeness including Dover. Often very rough seas. 1,730 launches. 1,269 people rescued. 61 lives saved’
The RNLI is close to Alice Arnold’s heart. She says:
‘The dedication of volunteer lifeboat crews around our coastlines is awe inspiring. When the pager goes off, they drop everything to go and save lives, often in treacherous conditions. I’ve really enjoyed reading the Mayday Forecast, highlighting the sheer number of rescues anticipated in 2016. It’s been fun to do, and vitally important. I’d encourage everyone to support the RNLI this Mayday to help the charity continue their life saving work.’
This Mayday, support the RNLI’s volunteer crews to keep them saving lives. Visit to donate and find out more information about how you can support Mayday.
Mayday fundraising events are taking place right across the UK and Ireland, many with a yellow welly theme. The public can also show their support on social media by using the hashtag #MaydayEveryday.
RNLI media contacts
Please contact the RNLI Mayday press office at / 020 7025 6613 for further information, the full Mayday Forecast script, to see further images, film and B-roll footage, or to speak with a volunteer crewmember.
Alternatively, call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email


Byline: Three RNLI lifeboats are continuing a search off the Pembrokeshire coast this morning.
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Volunteer crew from two lifeboats from St Davids and one from Fishguard are currently conducting searches in an area between St Davids and Strumble Head, along with Coastguard Rescue Teams and the Coastguard Search and Rescue Helicopter.

The search resumed this morning at 6am after being stood down at about 9.30pm last night.

Lifeboats were first tasked to launch at 2.30pm yesterday to search for the crew of a fishing vessel which hit rocks a mile offshore off Abereiddy beach and subsequently sank.

Five lifeboats were involved in the search last evening, two all-weather lifeboats and an inshore lifeboat from St Davids and all-weather lifeboats from Angle and Fishguard.

HM Coastguard confirmed that one person was found, taken out of the water and taken to hospital yesterday.

Jim Phillips, Lifeboat Press Officer at St Davids RNLI, said: ‘Our volunteer lifeboat crews will continue to search until told otherwise by HM Coastguard.

‘Our thoughts are with all those who were on board and their friends and families.’

Media contacts:

For more information please contact Chris Cousens, RNLI Press Officer, Wales and West, on 07748 265496 or 01745 585162 or by email on


Byline: Four members of top pro cycling team Wiggle High5 took a break from their Tour de Yorkshire preparation to support the RNLI’s Mayday campaign, by swapping their cycling shoes for lifeboat crew yellow wellies.
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The RNLI is the official charity partner of the Tour de Yorkshire, which coincides with the RNLI’s national fundraising campaign, Mayday. Many Mayday fundraising events have a yellow welly theme, inspired by the footwear worn by the charity’s volunteer crews.

Wiggle High5 take part in the Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire race tomorrow (Saturday 30 April). They will compete on the same 135K course as the men, who tackle the Otley to Doncaster route later the same day.

Wiggle High5 team members Anna Christian, Amy Roberts, Lucy Garner and Mayuko Hagiwara were keen to show their support for the lifesaving charity’s Mayday campaign, which runs until Monday 2 May.

Anna hails from the Isle of Man – the birthplace of the RNLI and home to five RNLI lifeboat stations.

She said: ‘I was delighted when I heard the RNLI was the Tour de Yorkshire’s charity for 2016 because I know what brilliant work their volunteer crews do. The fact that they just drop everything at a moment’s notice and go out to sea to rescue complete strangers is awe-inspiring.

‘I really hope everyone supports the RNLI’s Mayday campaign. I know there’ll be RNLI collectors and volunteers out along the race route so please look out for them, and perhaps buy one of their yellow welly pin badges in support of this amazing charity.’ 

RNLI fundraisers are collecting donations from spectators on all three days of the event and will be sharing water safety tips in the Tour Fanzones. On Sunday 1 May, over 90 amateur riders are raising money for the RNLI by taking part in the event’s sportive race.

All funds raised for Mayday through the Tour de Yorkshire partnership will be used to support the RNLI’s lifesaving service in Yorkshire, where the charity has nine lifeboat stations and provides a lifeguard service on 14 beaches.

As well as the Tour de Yorkshire fundraising, Mayday events are taking place right across the UK and Ireland and yellow welly pin badges are on sale in many locations. People can also show their support on social media by using the hashtag #MaydayEveryday.

1.  Wiggle High5 team members (L-R) Anna Christian, Amy Roberts, Mayuko Hagiwara and Lucy Garner support RNLI Mayday in their RNLI yellow wellies (Inside). Credit RNLI/ Anthony Chappel-Ross
2. Wiggle High5 team members (L-R) Lucy Garner, Mayuko Hagiwara, Amy Roberts and Anna Christian support RNLI Mayday in their RNLI yellow wellies (outside on bike). Credit RNLI/ Anthony Chappel-Ross

Media contacts
For more information please contact Alison Levett, RNLI Public Relations Manager, North, on 07786 668912 or at 

Notes to editors

About Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling Team
New name. New riders. New ranking! With UCI No.1 World Ranking, the Wiggle High5 women’s professional cycling team is the team to beat this season, following an unmatched 35 victories on the UCI Women’s World Tour in 2015. Having sponsored the team for three years, Wiggle, the world’s biggest online cycle and trisports retailer are delighted to continue the journey with these incredible athletes as they continue to inspire, entertain and raise awareness of the status and profile of women’s cycling 

Tour de Yorkshire

Tour de Yorkshire is a Welcome to Yorkshire (WTY) / Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.) race in association with British Cycling which holds a 2.1 European Tour UCI Classification.

The Tour de Yorkshire is an annual international race with a new route through Yorkshire each year. It forms part of the legacy of the historic Yorkshire Grand Départ of the Tour de France 2014, along with the Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries which aim to offer every child in Yorkshire access to a bike.


Byline: Rugby stars and ballerinas in wellies, cyclists taking part in the Tour de Yorkshire and fundraising events taking place across the UK and Ireland – Mayday, the RNLI’s annual national fundraising event, is here!
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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s (RNLI) annual fundraising event, Mayday, has been launched today (Tuesday 26 April) and will run until Bank Holiday Monday (2 May), aiming to raise £750,000 to support the charity’s lifesaving service.


To kick off the campaign, prima ballerinas and Premiership rugby players have shown their support by swapping their ballet pointes and rugby boots for the RNLI’s iconic yellow wellies.


The Birmingham Royal Ballet performers and Wasps players were trying out their signature moves but without the crucial footwear that aides them so well in their jobs, instead swapped for bright yellow wellies.


James Haskell, England rugby star and Wasps captain, urges the public to support the RNLI’s Mayday campaign: ‘As rugby players our training is pretty gruelling – we’re always pushing ourselves to the max in all kinds of weather conditions, but at least we know when we’re expected to perform!


‘That’s why I have so much respect and admiration for the volunteer RNLI crew members as they drop everything in an instant to respond to a distress call to go out on a rescue, no matter what. The shoot has been fun although there is a serious message, so I’m asking everyone to help this amazing charity continue its essential lifesaving work by supporting them this Mayday.’  


Fundraising events are taking place right across the UK and Ireland, many with a yellow welly theme in a nod to the lifesaving kit that RNLI lifeboat crew members wear on their feet when saving lives at sea. Today, approximately 250 RNLI volunteers will be shaking collection buckets at train stations across London in support of Mayday.  


Fundraisers up and down the land will be selling yellow welly pin badges, so people can show their support for the RNLI’s volunteer crews this Mayday, while the public can also show their support on social media by using the hashtag #MaydayEveryday.


This year, the RNLI is the Tour de Yorkshire’s charity of the year, with all funds raised supporting Mayday. The prestigious cycle race runs from Friday 29 April to Sunday 1 May, with RNLI fundraisers set to collect donations from spectators on all three days of the event. Furthermore, over 90 amateur riders are raising money for the RNLI by taking part in the event’s sportive race for the charity, which takes place on Sunday 1 May.


Chris Speers, volunteer lifeboat crew member at Poole lifeboat station, in Dorset said: ‘RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews around the UK and Ireland are willing to drop everything to go and save lives at sea when their pagers beep. The Mayday campaign is our own call for help, as we rely on the generosity of the public to help us continue our lifesaving service, which we operate day and night, 365 days a year.’


Every day is Mayday for the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews, who drop everything when the pager beeps to go and save lives at sea. They are on-call 24/7, rescuing an average of 22 people every day. Funds raised through Mayday will help them continue to save lives at sea.


To donate, find a Mayday event near you or to order a pin badge, visit



Notes to editors
  • Further images are available on request.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Luke Blissett, RNLI PR Officer, on 01202 663184 or email Alternatively, call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email


Byline: At 2044 hours on Saturday 23rd April 2016 Belfast Coastguard contacted Helensburgh RNLI Lifeboat with a report of what appeared to be an upturned vessel off Kilcreggan with two persons on the hull.
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Although it was an unconfirmed sighting the lifeboat was launched to investigate while there was still some daylight.  The lifeboat conducted a search of the area along with an MoD Police Launch and two local passenger ferries. Nothing untoward was sighted.  The search was called off at 2120 hours as it was concluded that this was a false alarm with good intent.  The lifeboat was reported to be back on station and ready for service again at 2158 hours.


Byline: Kessock Lifeboat volunteers were paged to launch this afternoon (Sunday 24 April) to assist a canoeist at the mouth of the River Ness.
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The alarm was raised at
5.26pm when the lone paddler was seen by a passing vessel who contacted the UK

Launching the Atlantic 85
lifeboat, Robert and Isobel Mowat just
a few minutes later the volunteer crew made the very short journey from the
RNLI lifeboat station in North Kessock to the canoeist who was struggling to
make any way against the tide and starting to become exhausted.

Weather conditions were
good at the time and the tide was falling. 

When the lifeboat crew,
under the command of volunteer Helmsman Stan MacRae, arrived with the paddler
they quickly established that apart from fatigue the man was in good health and wearing a lifejacket.

He was taken aboard the
lifeboat, the Canadian canoe taken under tow and both were taken to the slipway
at South Kessock where they were met by the Inverness Coastguard Team.

The RNLI voluneteers then
made their way back to the lifeboat station and recovered the lifeboat to make
it ready for the next service call.


Byline: An RNLI lifeboat crew member has hit a major milestone after the number of lifeboats launches he’s been on topped 1,000.
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Dave Parry, helmsman at Gravesend RNLI lifeboat station and volunteer lifeboat crew member at Whitstable RNLI, launched on his 1,000 call this month after serving more than 24 years saving lives at sea and on the River Thames.

And in that time he has rescued a total of 761 people and saved 87 lives.

The 51-year-old – who lives in Whitstable but is originally from Croydon – worked as a photocopier engineer when he started volunteering for the charity at Whitstable in 1992. In 2002 he started as a full time helmsman with the RNLI at Gravesend and still continues to volunteer at Whitstable.

Dave, whose hobbies include dingy sailing and running, said: ‘At Gravesend we operate on a 12 hour shift pattern to ensure the station is manned 24/7 – 365 days a the year. This is necessary in order to reach 90% of incidents within 15 minutes of being requested to launch.

‘The call to go will come direct from London Coastguard via the phone. But when at Whitstable I am paged in the traditional way and it can go off anytime day or night. I could be shopping, eating my dinner or even asleep when the pager can go off so I will stop or drop everything and make my way to the station a few minutes away. ’

Dave’s most memorable rescue was in May 2000. At 7am in the morning Whitstable lifeboat was launched to a 16ft angling boat called the Angelina with conditions worsening and winds reaching 50mph+. The vessel was located and the first attempt to rescue the crew was aborted. When the lifeboat crew turned to make another attempt, the vessel sunk with only some of the cabin visible above the water. The occupants were able to exit and were rescued from the water.

In May 2011 Gravesend lifeboat launched to a 170 tonne coastal aggregate barge called the Franchesca Prior which was reported to be on fire just off Higham while on her way to London with a cargo of sand. There was a sudden deterioration in the weather with a very heavy squall passing down the river and winds gusting in the region of force 7. This was worsened by heavy driving rain making visibility poor and making the situation more difficult for the two men on board.

The barge crew were assisted in ventilating the wheelhouse and clearing the smoke so the vessel could be diverted to the Port of London Authority (PLA) Marine Services Depot at Denton Wharf, where appliances from Kent Fire Service were waiting to assist.

Dave managed to snap the attached picture and subsequently won a photography competition with it.

In October 1996 Whitstable lifeboat was launched in the evening to a yacht called Panda which was on fire. There were two occupants on board as well as a dog. The Coastguard rescue helicopter 125 was on scene and winched one of the casualties aboard who was suffering from hypothermia and shock.

The vessel subsequently exploded, after which the second casualty and the dog were missing. After some time the second casualty was found by the lifeboat and was returned to the lifeboat station to hand into the care of the ambulance service. The lifeboat relaunched in search for Billy the dog who was in fact wearing a lifejacket. With no sign of the dog the search was called off. The next day Billy was found on a beach. He was exhausted but able to make it to shore no doubt the lifejacket saved his life.

A reconstruction of this rescue was made for a 999 series which was aired on the BBC.

Notes to editors

• Gravesend is one of four lifeboat stations on the tidal stretch of the River Thames that are operated by the RNLI. Gravesend lifeboat covers an area from Holehaven, at the western end of Canvey Island, to the Thames Flood Barrier at Woolwich, a distance of 26 miles – a patch which covers Kent, Essex and South London.
• Whitstable was one of the first 10 inshore lifeboat stations in the UK and Republic of Ireland. The crew have received four awards for gallantry, and also been recognised by Her Majesty the Queen in the honours lists.


RNLI media contacts
• Alan Carr, Gravesend RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer
07775 822584, 
• Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East)
0207 6207426 / 07785 296252
• James Oxley, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East)
0207 6207425 / 07786 668825
• For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre.