If It Wasn't For Your Wellies - and the RNLI

ARGYLE’S play-off chasing players swapped their football boots for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s iconic yellow wellies to support Mayday, the RNLI’s annual fundraising day.

The RNLI’s Mayday campaign runs for the whole of May, with fundraising events taking place across the South West. This year, the RNLI hopes to raise £750,000 through Mayday, which will be used to fund essential kit for the charity’s brave volunteer lifeboat crews.

In addition, Smeaton’s Tower – one of Plymouth’s most celebrated landmarks – will be going yellow on Monday, May 1, in support of the Mayday fundraising campaign. The lighthouse will make a striking sight after dark, an unmissable reminder to residents and visitors alike to ‘do your bit, fund our kit’ and help to fundraise this May.

Argyle captain Gary Sawyer, who comes from Bideford, close to the RNLI’s Appledore Lifeboat Station, urges support for the Mayday campaign.

He said: “As football 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 was 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 South West, 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.

Money raised through Mayday will help RNLI lifeboat crews to face the harshest conditions at sea with the best kit possible. It currently costs £1,598 to provide one all-weather lifeboat crew member with all of the kit needed when responding to the call for help.

A recently-announced partnership with global brand Helly Hansen will see all-weather lifeboat crews supplied with new kit later this year, providing better endurance levels and greater freedom of movement for the charity’s crew members.

RNLI fundraisers across the country will also be joining Smeaton’s Tower and the Argyle players in going yellow for Mayday – just like volunteer crews do every day to save lives at sea.

Anyone who wishes to get involved can visit RNLI.org/mayday to register for a free Mayday fundraising pack or donate to the campaign online. You can also show support on social media, joining the conversation using the hashtag #MaydayEveryDay, or buy a yellow crew member pin badge.

David Millford, Plymouth RNLI’s lifeboat coxswain said: “RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews 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.

“Our crews rely on lifesaving kit, like their yellow wellies, lifejackets and helmets, when they go out in all weathers to save lives. We’re delighted to have the support of the Plymouth Argyle players and that Smeaton’s Tower will be joining us in going yellow this Mayday, and we hope that many local people will be inspired to lend their support as well.”