Written by Charlotte West
Today I took part in London Lifeboat Day to raise vital funds for the RNLI’s lifesaving work. I was not entirely thrilled by the prospect of being at Liverpool street station for 7 a.m. to shake my bucket (something charity collectors are not apparently allowed to do… tut tut!) but I bussed it in to greet all the lovely commuters trying to hustle their way to work during a tube strike.
For many people I was just another sing-song happy charity collector who you might do your best to avoid eye contact with, but what was great about today were the people who did stop to donate some took the time to share with me why they were sparing me their lose change. Stories such as the woman who stopped to tell me she almost didn’t have a dad, but it was the RNLI who rescued him 3 months before she was born. There was also a man who spends a lot of his time at sea, and was looking to gain some good karma from the sea gods. I think he was slightly missing the point, but today was about the fact that the RNLI’s crew (not the sea gods) have saved at least 140,000 lives, and 2,713 of those on the Thames alone since the charity began 14 years ago – that’s enough people to fill more than 24 London Underground trains!
What people generally miss about the charity is that it is run by volunteers who provide 24-hour search and rescue service in the UK and ROI from 236 lifeboat stations, including 4 along the Thames, and money raised today will continue to support their work. So if you happen to see any more people like me, geared up in yellow all- weather jackets, please spare your loose change or text CITY to 70300 to show your support as well.