RNLI in Wales issues Mayday call

RNLI in Wales issues Mayday call as new figures reveal an increase in rescues and lives saved

Saturday 23rd April 2022 6:00 am
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Tenby lifeboat being launched
A picture by Joseph Thomas of the Tenby lifeboat being launched, shared on the Tenby Observer Facebook group ‘Picture This' (Pic. Joseph Thomas )

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The latest figures released this week by the RNLI have revealed that in Wales, volunteer lifeboat crews saved 45 lives in 2021, compared with 37 in 2020.

In addition, there were 1,057 lifeboat launches, compared with 918 in 2020 – a 15 per cent increase. The number of people aided by RNLI crews rose from 989 in 2020 to 1,130 in 2021 – a rise of 14 per cent. With demand for its lifesaving services at a high and the continued popularity of staycations, the charity is putting out its own ‘Mayday’ call.

The RNLI is urging the public to take part in the Mayday Mile, to raise essential funds to provide vital training and equipment to keep their lifesavers safe, while they risk their lives to save others.

A tragic incident at Llangennith almost a decade ago, where school boy Sam Capper tragically lost his life, has inspired a loving grandmother to put her best foot forward for the RNLI this Mayday, in tribute to the Burry Port RNLI volunteers who answered the call for help.

Leah Hunt, a police officer from Birkenhead, has officially launched this year’s Mayday Mile fundraiser by meeting her local RNLI crew at West Kirby for the first time, and revealing details of her own Mayday walking challenge on 22 May. Leah says the figures released today serve a stark reminder of why the RNLI is such a vital charity.

She is calling on people to support Mayday and raise funds for crews, such as the Burry Port RNLI crew who helped to save her son Lewis, during an incident which tragically took the life of her youngest boy Sam.

Sam Capper, aged 15, from Rock Ferry died in hospital after falling into the sea when a wave hit him in Llangennith, Swansea, in 2012. His older brother Lewis, now 31, jumped in after Sam and held onto him before being rescued by an RAF rescue helicopter and Burry Port RNLI lifeboat.

The busiest station in Wales during 2021 was The Mumbles where lifeboats launched 95 times and assisted 143 people. This is followed by Tenby where lifeboats launched 78 times and aided 36 people. It was the Porthcawl RNLI who saved the most lives during 2021, with 11 people still alive today thanks to the volunteer crew.

In North Wales, it was an exceptionally busy year for the Rhyl RNLI, with crew launching one of their two lifeboats 74 times and assisting 89 people.

Events are taking place across Wales to support the RNLI fundraiser whereby people are invited to walk, jog, hop or skip. The Mayday Mile which challenges you to cover at least one mile in any way you like between Saturday 1st and Tuesday 31st May, whilst raising vital funds for RNLI lifesavers so that they can continue to keep people safe at sea.

At Tenby, RNLI supporters are being invited to sign up to a virtual ramble.

Faye Maher, RNLI Engagement Lead for Wales says:

‘Last year was an exceptionally busy one for our crews across Wales, but our volunteers would not be able to continue saving lives without the generous support of the public. With the increased popularity of the Welsh coastline, we’re expecting a busy summer and are so grateful to all those who have answered our Mayday plea. It’s exciting to see details of all the events flowing in and I hope people enjoy taking part whilst raising much-needed funds to help us continue saving lives.’

The Mayday Mile will be running from Saturday 1 May to Tuesday 31 May. Sign up and find out more at RNLI.org/SupportMayday today.

Anyone wishing to support Leah’s challenge, can find out more here: https://rnli.enthuse.com/pf/wirral-coastal-walk.

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