RNLI Mayday campaign: West Sussex and Hampshire RNLI branches join forces for annual fundraising campaign

Volunteers at Littlehampton Lifeboat Station are joining forces with the Basingstoke branch for the RNLI’s annual Mayday fundraising campaign to help save lives at sea.

The two fundraising teams are working together on running, cycling and walking challenges to support the RNLI’s 24/7 search and rescue lifeboat service and seasonal lifeguard service.

A distance of 102 miles has been set, matching the distance between the two towns, and while Padhraig Murphy from Littlehampton and Kate Stones from Basingstoke are running, Cian Mathews, the recently-appointed chairperson of Littlehampton RNLI’s fundraising branch, will be cycling throughout May.

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Padhraig said: “I’m looking forward to my 51 miles on the road for a great cause. It’s a privilege to be able to fundraise for the brave and heroic lifeboat crews of the RNLI.”

Cian Mathews, recently-appointed chairperson of Littlehampton RNLI’s fundraising branch, will be cycling 102 miles throughout May. Picture: RNLI

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Padhraig and Kate will each run a total of 50.5 miles in their own areas between May 1 and 28 May, then on May 29, they will run the final mile together in Littlehampton. They will be cheered on from Littlehampton RNLI Lifeboat Station to Littlehampton Pier and back by friends and family, and the RNLI’s mascot, Stormy Stan.

Kate, chair of Basingstoke RNLI’s fundraising branch, said: “As a very amateur runner, attempting to run 51 miles is probably the craziest idea I’ve ever had. But whatever hurdles I face during this, it’s nothing compared to the bravery and challenges the lifeboat crews and lifeguards face, and it’s always humbling to remember that.

“This is the first time we’ve collaborated with one of the coastal lifeboat stations and, as one of our nearest stations, it’s brilliant to be building this new relationship with Littlehampton. We hope this is the start of many more fundraising events together, although hopefully the next one will be less gruelling.”

Meanwhile, Cian will be cycling 102 miles throughout May in aid of the RNLI.

Cian said: “The 102 miles on a bike may not sound like a lot to an all-weather cyclist but for me it is. It’s also not only about the distance but the time I will need to dedicate to this.

“I am already very busy with work and a young family, as well as my other RNLI fundraising duties, so to fit time in for cycling will be a challenge.

“But this time dedication is but a drop in the ocean compared to the time dedicated by our incredible crews – mums and dads who drop everything at the sound of a pager and selflessly race to assist those in peril on the sea.”

To boost the efforts, David Thomas, a volunteer at the Littlehampton RNLI shop, is walking from Lands’ End to John O’ Groats, raising funds for various charities, including the RNLI.

David said: “Starting at Easter, my walk will take over three months to complete. I’m a keen walker but have never attempted something like this before.

“Hopefully, I’ll be joined at certain stages along the way by family and friends, but I’ll be walking unsupported, carrying all my gear from beginning to end.”

The RNLI’s annual Mayday fundraising campaign raises funds to keep lifesavers kitted and trained to deal with emergencies, so that they can save lives at sea.

To support Padhraig visit: rnli.enthuse.com/pf/padhraig-murphy

To support Kate visit: rnli.enthuse.com/pf/kate-stones

To support Cian visit: rnli.enthuse.com/pf/cian-mathews