Sailor turned skydiver fundraises for Eastbourne RNLI as part of Mayday campaign

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Eastbourne RNLI is calling on members of the public to support the RNLI’s Mayday fundraising campaign, after revealing they launched 107 times last year.

With demand for the RNLI’s lifesaving services at a high, the charity is putting out its own ‘Mayday’ call, urging members of the local community to take part in the Mayday Mile - taking on the challenge of covering a mile a day for the month of May.

All money raised will help to provide the charity’s vital lifesaving service, through the training and equipment that is needed to keep its lifesavers safe, while they risk their own lives to save others.

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One person who was inspired to raise money for Eastbourne lifeboat station was Steve Hodges. He decided to fundraise for Eastbourne RNLI after suffering a dismasting incident, where the mast of his yacht became detached from his vessel, ten miles off the Northern coast of France.

With demand for the RNLI’s lifesaving services at a high, Eastbourne RNLI is putting out its own ‘Mayday’ call, urging members of the local community to take part in the Mayday Mile - taking on the challenge of covering a mile a day for the month of May. Picture: Daniel Baldock/RNLIWith demand for the RNLI’s lifesaving services at a high, Eastbourne RNLI is putting out its own ‘Mayday’ call, urging members of the local community to take part in the Mayday Mile - taking on the challenge of covering a mile a day for the month of May. Picture: Daniel Baldock/RNLI
With demand for the RNLI’s lifesaving services at a high, Eastbourne RNLI is putting out its own ‘Mayday’ call, urging members of the local community to take part in the Mayday Mile - taking on the challenge of covering a mile a day for the month of May. Picture: Daniel Baldock/RNLI

Having been billed €3,900 from the Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer (SNSM), the French equivalent of the RNLI, he became inspired to raise money for the charity. He embarked on a skydive from Headcorn Aerodrome in Kent, jumping 12,000 feet in tandem with Simon (his skydive instructor), ultimately raising £5,040 for Eastbourne RNLI.

Steve also has a personal connection with Eastbourne RNLI, enlisting help from their volunteer crew in 2022 to propose to his fiancée Sam McClements by flag signals from the lifeboat to his yacht. This was a huge success and a complete surprise for Sam. Luckily for Steve she said “yes” and accepted his proposal.

The RNLI’s Mayday fundraiser begins on Monday, May 1 and will run for the whole month across the UK and Ireland.

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Carl Pocock, volunteer lifeboat operations managed at Eastbourne RNLI says: “Summer is the busiest time of year for the RNLI, with thousands of people at risk of getting into danger by the water. Having recently marked the RNLI’s 200th anniversary, we’re putting out our call for help to raise the funds which will help keep our lifesaving service going today and into the future.

“As a charity we rely on the generosity of the public to take part in events like the Mayday Mile and raise the funds that allow us to be there when we’re needed most.”

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