The crew of Littlehampton lifeboat station have had a gruelling 24 hours, but this time not saving lives at sea. This weekend saw them on an altogether different mode of transportation, raising money for the RNLI SOS national fundraising day.
Volunteer lifeboat crew, shore crew and fundraisers gathered at Littlehampton Tesco Friday at noon to begin a sponsored 24 hour rowathon on two rowing machines on loan from Inspire Leisure. Each crewman had an allotted time to arrive and took turns doing ten minute sessions throughout the day, into the night and right through till midday Saturday.
The team of fundraisers, family and friends also made sure the boys and girls had plenty of support throughout the 24 hours, collecting donations from passing shoppers and encouraging them to take part in the guess the mileage competition.
A steady stream of Littlehampton’s lifeboat crew arrived and took part in the event including some family members, the lifeboat operations manager, the head of fundraising and even Tesco’s store manager took up the oars to lend a hand, but a core group, Gavin Simmons, Liam Clarke, Tom Bezzants, Warren Marden And Ian Foden stayed and rowed throughout the entire 24 hours, eating and some briefly sleeping in between sessions on the floor. The boys and girls rowed an amazing 376 miles.
Organiser Gavin Simmons Said ‘I didn’t realise that staying awake and motivated for 24 hours would be so hard, but the support and generous donations from the public really spurred us all on. I’d like to say a massive thank you to those who took part in the row and helped in setting it up. I was surprised and very impressed with the distance we rowed’.
Crew and fundraisers also found time to bring the stations D-Class lifeboat ‘Spirit of Juniper’ into the town centre on Saturday morning. Armed with collection buckets and handfuls of stickers they found once again the people of Littlehampton to be very supportive.
The money raised from collection buckets at Tesco and the town centre plus the ‘just giving’ page and an event held in the White Hart, reached a total of £2799.57.
Nick White, operations manager from the lifeboat station said ‘A huge amount of effort went into raising money for SOS day, with a splendid result. The crew still have to collect sponsorship money which will almost certainly push the total over £3,000’.