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RNLI Marathon Walker Strides In Mayo Within Sight Of €25k Fundraising Target

21st May 2016
Alex Ellis-Roswell with friends from Ballyglass RNLI Alex Ellis-Roswell with friends from Ballyglass RNLI Credit: RNLI/Ballyglass

#RNLI - Alex Ellis-Roswell recently walked into Mayo without any fanfare but with the sole aim to continue his marathon walk to raise funds for the RNLI, a charity close to his heart.

The 23-year-old Kent native is well on his way to smashing a £20,000 (€25,000) fundraising target which will see vital funds raised for the lifeboats.

When he set out 649 days ago, Ellis-Roswell planned to walk along the British coastline only, but he changed his mind and boarded a ferry to Belfast last year to add the beautiful Irish coastline to his journey.

When he finishes he will have walked the entire length of the Irish and UK coasts.

Ellis-Roswell has had many adventures along the way with strangers opening their doors to him and providing food and company for him along the way. Their kindness has seen him almost reach his target, which he now plans to exceed.

The weather had not been kind along the way, and he has pitched his tent in some stunning but remote places with the wind and the rain beating down on him. He has also battled with the toll the epic walk has taken on both his knees.

Starting his walk in Ireland at Belfast last year, he came down along the east coast before rounding the southern coastline and trekking along the Cork and Kerry peninsulas, clocking up hundreds of kilometres.

He has now crossed the border into Mayo and the sun has come out to match the hospitality of the locals to make it a special stop on his journey. Two important places for him to call in to visit have been the Achill and Ballyglass RNLI lifeboat stations, where he was made feel very welcome.

Commenting on the incredible fundraising initiative when Ellis-Roswell stopped by to visit the lifeboat crew and fundraisers with Ballyglass RNLI, the station’s volunteer lifeboat press officer Agatha Hunt said: "We were honoured to welcome Alex to our door and to hear about his adventures so far. It is incredible to think that a young man from across the water would do this for a charity which is very close to all of us here.

"Every lifeboat station and volunteer shares a common goal to save lives and help those in difficulty but it is very touching to see someone so young doing this to help in our work. I know his father, who also had great affection, for the RNLI would have been very proud of him."

Huge thanks are also due to the Broadhaven Bay Hotel, Léim Siar B&B Blacksod, Western Strand Hotel and the Kilcummin Lodge B&B who supported the young man in his walk by providing accommodation during his visit.

If people wish donate to Alex Ellis-Roswell they can do so via his online fundraising page. He is also cataloguing his journey on social media and can be followed on Facebook or Twitter.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

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