Don’t panic! It’s only our lifeboat crew
PUBLISHED: 15:38 02 May 2008 | UPDATED: 11:08 13 July 2010
DON’T get too alarmed if you spot a lifeboat crew togged up in their rescue gear in Spitalfields Market in East London on Tuesday. The Thames won’t have burst its banks, flooding the East End (we hope), despite the week’s heavy rain.
By Mike Brooke
DON'T get too alarmed if you spot a lifeboat crew togged up in their rescue gear in Spitalfields Market in East London on Tuesday.
The Thames won't have burst its banks, flooding the East End (we hope), despite the week's heavy rain.
Tuesday is the start of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's annual fundraiser week in the City of London and the surrounding boroughs.
Lifeboat crews are doubling up as fundraising crews, cap in hand, for the vital rescue service on the Thames, their busiest patch.
The highlight of London Lifeboat Week is May 6 when two roadshows 'dock' in Spitalfields Market in the City Fringe district near Liverpool Street station.
The Train One, Save Many display shows how vital training is for the volunteers who become lifeboat crew members. Only one-in-10 volunteers come from a professional maritime background.
The second roadshow, Life First, illustrates how the RNLI uses lifeboats, lifeguards, and safety advice, to save lives on the Thames and around the coats of the British Isles.
Hundreds of fundraisers also hold collections on Tuesday at main-line rail terminals and London Underground stations, aiming to reach £245,000 and beat last year's record £243,000.
The RNLI's annual costs are £122 million. That's £335,000 every day of the year.
The charity, which relies on voluntary contributions and legacies, gets no Government funding.
It provides a 24-hour 'search and rescue' service every day of the year.
By far the busiest rescue crews anywhere in the British Isles are at Tower Lifeboat station, one of four on the Thames.
Lifeboats were launched 529 times on the Thames in 2007 alone, rescuing 226 people.
Most crews are volunteers whose everyday jobs range from doctor, teacher, housewife, hairdresser and, of course, fishermen. The charity provides the lifeboats, equipment and training to ensure volunteers can do the job safely.
The lifeboat roadshows are at Spitalfields Market in Brushfield-street, off Commercial-street, 10am to 6pm. Nearest Underground: Liverpool Street, Aldgate or Aldgate East.
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