RNLI's Six on Saddles to fund new lifeboat
Volunteers from a Devon lifeboat crew will undertake a cycling challenge in full kit to help fund their first all-weather, waterjet-powered vessel.
The six crew members from Exmouth RNLI will cycle almost 20 miles from Dawlish to Exmouth to raise money towards the launch and recovery equipment needed for their Shannon lifeboat, expected by early 2014.
The "Six on Saddles" event is part of an SOS day when lifeboat stations and RNLI supporters around the UK and Ireland hold fundraising exercises to boost support.
Helmsman Mark Champion's team consists of fellow crew volunteers Steve Satchell, Paul Fox, Hedley Saunders, David Preece and Lee Manning.
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The team will set off from Dawlish football club on Sunday 20 at 10.30am and will call at Starcross, Topsham, Lympstone and Exmouth sailing clubs, before arriving at Exmouth lifeboat station at about 3.15pm, where the Exmouth Shanty Men will join them at the finish line to 'Sing Our Shanties' for SOS Day.
Emma Tarling, of Exmouth RNLI, said: "SOS Day is all about having fun and raising funds. On the last Friday in January, lifeboat stations and RNLI supporters around the UK and Ireland hold lots of fun events, really brightening up this otherwise dull month.
"The Exmouth volunteers have decided to hold their event on the previous Sunday in order to catch supporters at each of their rest points around the Exe estuary.
"We have the support of many sailing clubs along the way and Darts Farm, who are kindly providing the cyclists with lunch.
Our Sea Safety Officer will have a gazebo outside Darts Farm where he will be providing advice and a lifejacket clinic."
In the next ten years the RNLI aims to build more than 50 Shannons, estimating that the boats will rescue more than 56,000 people and save the lives of more than 1,500 during their 50 years' service.
To sponsor the RNLI volunteers visit: www.virginmoneygiving.com/sixonsaddles
VIDEO: The Shannon prototype being tested in rough seas: