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Lifeboat crews launch appeal to help keep afloat

PUBLISHED: 18:38 13 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:41 05 October 2010

Tower Lifeboat crew in action at Tower Bridge

Tower Lifeboat crew in action at Tower Bridge

LIFEBOATS operating on the Thames have had the busiest six months since they were brought in for river rescue in London six years ago, figures released today (Oct 13) reveal. Provisional rescue statistics show lifeboats from the four RNLI stations along the tidal reaches of the Thames launched a total of 317 times between January and June

LIFEBOATS operating on the Thames have had the busiest six months since they were brought in for river rescue in London six years ago, figures released today (Oct 13) reveal.

Provisional rescue statistics show lifeboats from the four RNLI stations along the tidal reaches of the Thames launched a total of 317 times between January and June.

This is a 23 per cent increase on the same period last year, when the lifeboats based at Tower Pier, Gravesend, Chiswick and Teddington set out 258 times.

The national charity is now launching something different apart from lifeboats—SOS Day—to raise cash to keep the rescue service afloat.

Schools, offices, clubs and pubs around the British Isles are taking part on January 30.

“Few are aware that RNLI lifeboats are on the Thames as well as the coast,” said the organisation’s divisional inspector Andrew Ashton. “But these figures show the Thames has the most rescues.

“Sadly, the major reason for lifeboat rescues on the Thames is to help people who have deliberately jumped into the water, which can make the life of the volunteer crew more harrowing.”

Tower lifeboat crews are by far the busiest anywhere in the British Isles, having launched 180 times between January and June, rescuing 40 people in distress.

Gravesend, Chiswick and Teddington between them launched a total of 137 times in that period. Gravesend rescued 26 people, Chiswick 19 and Teddington 11.

The traditional Save Our Souls’ maritime distress call is being reworked on January 30 as a major Sound Or Silence’ theme for fundraising, with events ranging from sponsored silences to Sing One Song’ karaoke nights.

Previous SOS Day events have included ideas such as Sizzle Our Sausages’ and for wine connoisseurs Shiraz Or Sauvignon.’

The RNLI is appealing for fundraisers to get ideas online from its website:

www.rnli.org.uk/sos

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