Volunteer RNLI crews from Portsmouth and Hayling Island lifeboat stations
teamed up with RNLI lifeguards to ensure the charity’s annual national
fundraiser – Mayday – was seen far and wide this weekend.
With its message ‘Do your bit fund our kit’ the aim of the Mayday campaign is to raise
£750,000 to help pay for the crucial kit volunteer crews rely on, such as life jackets,
helmets and the RNLI’s iconic yellow wellies.
A key part of Mayday is the RNLI Mayday Welly Relay and this weekend it was the
turn of the Portsmouth and Hayling lifeboat crews to do their bit in helping the welly
along on its journey around the UK coast from Portishead Lifeboat Station to Harwich
After being transferred from the crew of the RNLI Bembridge lifeboat on the Isle of
Wight to the Portsmouth – Isle of Wight passenger hovercraft, the crew of the inshore
lifeboat from Portsmouth then took charge of the welly before bringing it ashore at
The welly was then paraded along the beach, with assistance from the RNLI’s very
own Stormy Stan, before it was passed to RNLI lifeguards who paddled the welly
along the seafront before it was returned to the Portsmouth crew.
The following day the Portsmouth and Hayling Island lifeboats joined forces in front of
Portsmouth’s Emirates Spinnaker Tower so the boot could be passed to the Hayling
crew who will escort it on the next leg of its journey.
To top it all off, that evening the Emirates Spinnaker Tower, which soars over the
Portsmouth skyline, was lit-up bright yellow to broadcast the Mayday Message far
‘It really was a great weekend and very energetic!’ said Portsmouth Lifeboat Press
Officer Aaron Gent. ‘It was a real team effort with the crews from Portsmouth and
Hayling coming together as well as joining up with the lifeguards on the beach.’
‘It was great to see Stormy Stan running along the seafront and wonderful to see the
reaction of children on the beach,’ he added. ‘The crew carried collecting buckets
along the beach – and we raised more than £200 from that alone.’
‘The only downside was that a planned abseil by crew members down the 560ft
Spinnaker Tower had to be cancelled due to high winds, but this will be rescheduled
for a later date,’ said Aaron.