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Sean Cycles 54 Miles to Support Our Charity

We’re very pleased to share that friend of the PLIRB, Sean O’Sullivan has successfully completed his solo 54-mile charity bike ride to support our charity.

As we previously shared, Sean of SOS Entertainment, originally planned to cycle on behalf of our charity in the 2020 London to Brighton bike ride. But after that event was cancelled, with a few sponsors already behind him, Sean organised his own date and route and got on his bike to fulfil his offer of charity support anyway!

Unfortunately for Sean, he couldn’t have picked a worse weather day when it comes to wind! With much of the south coast experiencing very strong winds, Sean found himself cycling into a strong headwind for almost all of his 54-mile route.

Sean, having final bike checks at Rye Bay Ebikes, just before setting off from Rye Harbour.

Thanks to Rye Bay Ebikes for joining in and for sponsoring Sean for this challenge.

Sean battled against that strong headwind right from the start, which made even the early stages of the journey exhausting. By the half way stage, when Sean reached Dungeness, the wind was taking its toll … but Sean remained good humoured as he stopped for a short check-in with safety support, Bob Cheeseman.

Video courtesy of Bob Cheeseman and Sean O’Sullivan

So by the time Sean had cycled on through Camber and Rye, the wind wasn’t Sean’s only problem. The exhaustive cycling against the wind took a real toll on Sean’s legs, causing a significant struggle as he had to work twice as hard as usual to get anywhere.

By that final stretch, along the main Sea Road that runs between Winchelsea Beach and our Pett Level boathouse, Sean wasn’t just pushing against the wind, but also the effects of the effort of cycling against it – real muscle burn to the legs.

“It was a lot tougher than I thought, and that’s purely due to the wind,” Sean said afterwards. “I regularly ride 30 miles or more and the 54 miles wouldn’t have been a problem if it wasn’t for that wind – I literally had it against me all the way round! It felt like it doubled the distance with the strain and effort it took.”

Charity support – it works both ways

 

Sean says that what made a real difference to him at this point, was knowing that his challenge (and pain) was for our charity. That, and the knowledge that some of our volunteers had opened up the boathouse and that we (and a cup of tea!) were in phone contact with his support throughout and were following his progress as we waited to greet him.

So somehow, Sean rallied for that last long stretch of relentless wind along the Sea Road, to arrive at our boathouse an amazing 5 1/2 hours and 54 miles after setting out. This moment was captured by crew member, Martin and sincerely appreciated by Sean …

“I’m so glad I did it because I was well supported. The way the PLIRB volunteers thanked me when I got back … I couldn’t get over it! There were people out by the road clapping and applauding as I came through, that was great.”

Of course, with social distancing in mind, although we can gather in the course of our volunteer work, we did limit numbers on the day, which meant that quite literally, we weren’t able to thank Sean enough for his huge endeavours on our behalf. So we’ve invited Sean back to the boathouse for a proper thank you visit, once restrictions are lifted.

And in the meantime, between online donations via Sean’s giving page, through our website, and cash donations on the day, Sean’s amazing charity support with his solo cycle ride has raised around £600. The PLIRB committee is delighted with this, as Chair Kev explains:

“All the volunteers here are very grateful to Sean for raising so much to help Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat at this difficult time. We’d also like to say a big thank you to everyone who donated online and in cash to support Sean’s amazing effort.”

Everyone at Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat would like to say a huge thank you to Sean for this absolutely superb endeavour to support our charity. We really do appreciate his help with the fundraising. We’re also in awe of the time and effort Sean gave up to cycle his gruelling 54 mile route to raise funds for us. Thanks so much to Sean and everyone who helped or donated for this fundraiser.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, you might like to look at Sean’s own blog post on this fundraiser, as it has more videos of his progress throughout the challenge!


Whilst you’re here …

As an independent rescue service, we are run by volunteers and fundraise to buy all of our own equipment and to pay our considerable running costs. Since the pandemic began, these costs have risen to over £10,000 a year.

If you like the work we do and would like to support us, your donation would really be appreciated and would, ultimately, help us to help those in danger on our local coastline.

Thank you so much, from the volunteers at Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat.

Annual General Meeting – Latest Update

Our charity’s AGM, which had to be postponed in April, is rescheduled to Sunday 27th September at 10:00 am at our boathouse.
The aim has been to hold this in a socially distanced way outside, weather permitting. We are not expecting large numbers, so we still hope to go ahead with the AGM, as our ‘work’ team of volunteers will be present for our Sunday training and equipment maintenance session as usual.

 

Masks must be worn in accordance with guidelines and all attendees will be asked to provide contact information in line with track and trace requirements.

 

If the format of the AGM is changed to an online event, further information will be given, so please do keep an eye out on our social media.

MP Shares Concern Over Our Charity’s Challenges

On Sunday 20th September, our volunteers received a visit from Sally-Ann Hart, local Member of Parliament for Hastings and Rye.

As an independent rescue service which receives no charity support from government, our committee was contacted by Sally-Ann’s office after the Times / Sunday Times produced their Behind The Story documentary video. This video included segments from PLIRB volunteer and launch authority, Steve Hill as well as Sally-Ann in her role of local MP.

Although restrictions changed in the week before, the visit was able to go ahead thanks to good weather which meant everything could take place outside. With our volunteers already at the boathouse as a working team for our usual Sunday training and equipment checks, Sally-Ann was able to meet many of the team. There was plenty of time for a chat about the work we do and current issues we’re experiencing – especially in relation to the local coastline, environmental factors, and being able to fundraise or access funding support due to the pandemic and lockdown.

Sally-Ann acknowledged not just the work our volunteers are doing, but also the problems we’re facing, saying: “All our lifeboats, both RNLI and Independent, are vitally important to our coastal communities and it’s vital they get the funding they need. Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat is a local organisation, staffed solely by local volunteers who are passionate about saving lives – and they’re doing a fantastic job.”

Boathouse tour – and more

After a good chat, Sally-Ann was then shown around our base and boathouse by helm, launch authority and training officer, Darren. Sally-Ann was able to see the type of boats we have to support inshore and inland rescues. As part of the tour, Sally-Ann was also able to see why it is our rescue service needs specialist vehicles such as our Launch and Recovery vehicle which has to cope with the high shingle ridges as well as sandbars, hidden hazards and sinking mud.

With trainee numbers dwindling as current trainees qualify as crew, Darren was also able to chat with the MP about the role of our volunteers and of continued training for the crew. Collaborative work with other services, including support and incidents and in shared training, was also discussed, and Sally-Ann was glad to hear about our work with other services, agreeing that “collaboration between the RNLI and Independent rescue boats is vital in ensuring the safety of people visiting the area.”

Before leaving, Sally-Ann also spent time chatting to volunteer Barbara about her Bric-A-Brac charity shed, which is much loved and well supported by the local community. Usually, across a selling ‘season’ – from March to October – Barbara’s able to raise at least a quarter of our £10,000 running costs. This year, the combination of lockdown and being currently being unable to receive donations of items to sell, means income from the stall is significantly reduced.  

As a community and rescue charity which provides life-saving services and receives no charity support from government, we would like to thank Sally-Ann Hart for visiting. Our volunteers are glad to have welcomed our local MP to the boathouse, and appreciate having the opportunity to talk about the work we do and the challenges we (and many other local and national charities) currently face. As our launch vehicle volunteer and incoming chair, Kev, sums up:

“Along with lots of other charities this year, we’re struggling to raise funds to cover our operational costs so it’s heartening to know that Sally-Anne Hart recognises not only this problem but also appreciates the efforts of our volunteers in keeping visitors to the coast safe.

Sally-Ann’s visit highlights what Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat continues to do during these worrying times, and may hopefully help raise awareness of our charity’s work, of the costs involved in providing these life saving services and of the impact the pandemic has had on our ability to raise the money we desperately need so that we can continue provide these services.”


Whilst you’re here …

As an independent rescue service, we are run by volunteers and fundraise to buy all of our own equipment and to pay our considerable running costs. Since the pandemic began, these costs have risen to over £10,000 a year.

If you like the work we do and would like to support us, your donation would really be appreciated and would, ultimately, help us to help those in danger on our local coastline.

Thank you so much, from the volunteers at Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat.

Sean’s Bike Ride for PLIRB Charity – New Date

Just a quick update on Sean’s progress in his charity bike ride plans, to raise money for us.

There are two lots of latest news to share on this … one is a change of date, the other is a little share of how Sean’s putting some extra fun into the FUNdraising part!

Things have been extremely busy for Sean lately and although he’s made major strides in both training and fundraising, he’s now also ended up with a clash of dates.

So, instead of staying with the original date of 13th September which was set as the London to Brighton 2020 charity bike ride date (as discussed in a previous post) Sean’s had a problem-solving rethink. The new date will be Saturday 26th September. Everything else is the same, it’s just the change of day and date!

And the fundraising? Sean’s giving page currently shows £155 + Gift Aid, whilst we’ve also received a couple of donations through the website and a crisp £50 to sponsor Sean. This means that already there’s £255 + in the pot as a result of Sean’s fundraiser, which is amazing. And coming soon, is a little idea to add more FUN to Sean’s fundraising efforts.

Check back soon or follow us on social media for the next update!

Our Community Charity in National Newspaper Documentary

Earlier in the summer, just after lockdown restrictions started to lift, our community charity received contact from The Times / Sunday Times.

The newspaper group wanted to talk about our rescue role in the context of the plight of vulnerable persons at sea. This is because, along with other emergency and rescue services, our charity has been involved in multi-agency incidents this year.

Launch authority Steve, who also carries out PLIRB beach safety awareness talks at schools and community groups, was able to take part. Steve met the video producers and journalist down at the boathouse to answer their questions about our work.

The video documentary has now been completed and was released in August 2020.


Whilst you’re here …

As an independent rescue service, we are run by volunteers and fundraise to buy all of our own equipment and to pay our considerable running costs. Since the pandemic began, these costs have risen to over £10,000 a year.

If you like the work we do and would like to support us, your donation would really be appreciated and would, ultimately, help us to help those in danger on our local coastline.

Thank you so much, from the volunteers at Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat.