Launching The PLIRB Charity Lottery Campaign

As many of our friends and supporters know, recent events mean we’ve had to expand our horizons when it comes to fundraising. And the exciting news is that we’re now onboard for online fundraising with The Weather Lottery.

Why an online charity lottery?

As is the case for many other UK charities, the CV-19 pandemic has seriously affected fundraising 2020. As an independent rescue charity receiving no government funding, this has had a major impact. At the very least each year, we have to maintain a level of fundraising to meet our running costs, which are around £8,000 a year and rising.

So, how could we help fix 2020’s fundraising fail?

Expand our horizons and move into the unchartered waters of online fundraising!

And how could we put a bit of FUN into online fundraising?

By joining the Weather Lottery!

The fun twist on this is that the weather is usually the thing that impacts on our fundraising when it comes to fetes and Open day! As stalwarts who supported us during the absolute downpour on 2018 ‘s Open Day know well)! In the case of the Weather Lottery, the weather is going to be nothing but helpful for us!

“Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat are one of our most recent societies to start their lottery fundraising journey. We are extremely excited to work with Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat.”

                                                                                                                                    Weather Lottery Team.

How to join in

For just £1 a week, our friends and supporters could win £25,000 in each weekly draw. As this is a charity lottery, all profits raised will come to Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat and will be vital in helping us to save lives at sea.

  • If you’d like to get involved, it’s very simple. The dedicated Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat page at the Weather Lottery can be found here.
  • If you’d prefer to look at the Weather Lottery to see what’s involved and how it works first, you can also visit the Weather Lottery’s How It Works page.
  • If anyone prefers a leaflet, these have just arrived (photo below). These will be placed in our leaflet box outside the boathouse for collection from 4th July 2020 – our official lottery launch date. If friends and supporters would like to help us with this campaign by sharing our leaflets at work, please contact us and we’ll get some dropped off to you (in a socially-distanced way, of course)!

Like what we do? Please support this campaign in whichever way you can

The service we provide, along this beautiful but hazardous stretch of the UK coastline, makes a difference to people on local beaches and in the water. It also supports the work of other rescue and emergency services who we work with regularly. These include local HM Coastguard teams, HM Search & Rescue based at Lydd, plus RNLI services at Hastings, Rye and Dungeness. We also work with Sussex Police and Border Force, and are recognised by these services for the role our volunteers fulfil along this part of the coastline.

Every penny raised from the Weather Lottery will help keep us afloat and saving lives, and we’d love your support in this. Here’s our page link again (yes, we’re a bit excited about this)!

Any support you can offer for our charity lottery campaign would certainly give a much-needed boost to our funds. And here’s the big plus, if you sign up to play in support of us, you also stand the chance of winning that £25,000 weekly prize! 

We realise that not everyone wants to participate in lotteries and of course we totally respect that. However, if you can’t participate yourself but would like to help us out that would be amazing. Sharing this blog post and our social media updates or passing on a few leaflets to friends who might like to join in would all be appreciated by us.

Looking forward to sharing more on this later but in the meantime, a big thank you from all of us at Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat.

PLIRB Search and Rescue for Missing Person

On Thursday 25th June, Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat teams were tasked to support HM Coastguards in a search and rescue incident.

At approximately 11:15 am, our teams were  tasked by Solent Coastguard to launch and assist in the search for a person who was thought to be missing along the coastline of the Fairlight and Ecclesbourne Glen areas. Also involved were local  Bexhill and Hastings Coastguard teams, Sussex Police, RNLI Hastings and the Lydd Search and Rescue Helicopter team.

Although a busy work morning, several of our volunteers were able to respond to the call for assistance, with enough crew for our Pulfer Boat to be launched within approximately 15 minutes of the initial call.

Once launched, the boat crew was directed to Fairlight Cove to liaise with Hastings Coastguards who were already searching the area for the missing person. At this stage, RNLI Hastings were stood down. With our Pulfer boat being an inshore vessel, the PLIRB crew were able to get ashore to pick up the Hastings Coastguard team and take them to another search location by boat. Those on board continued to search the water and coastline on the way. The Lydd Search and Rescue helicopter team searched from the air, as reported in the Observer Online at the time.

Once at the alternative beach location at Ecclesbourne Glen, members of the public supported the search and rescue teams with information about when the man was last seen in the area. At this time, Sussex Police were also responding to reports and making enquiries in the man’s local area. As a result of this, the call came through that the missing person had been located at home.

Recovery and clean up – Covid-style!

At this point, our crew returned to the boathouse, bringing the Hastings Maritime & Coastguard team back to shore with them. As usual, our beach and base volunteer teams supported the boat crew in getting the boat safely recovered to the boathouse.

Currently, getting cleaned up takes a good while longer, due to the additional measures in place to make the premises and equipment as Covid-secure as possible. However, many hands made much lighter work and our volunteers were able to make good time in getting everythig ship-shape and rescue-ready for next time.

Thanks to everyone who was able to respond in this search and rescue incident. We’re pleased to have been of assistance and we’re very happy that the missing person was found safe and well.

We’d also like to say a big thank you to members of the public who were using the beach, but moved cheerfully and quickly out of the way so that we could launch and recover the boat quickly, safely and with social distancing in mind. We appreciate your co-operation – it makes the work of our volunteers so much easier!

*Archive photo of our Pulfer boat in action* 

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.

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.

CV19 Update – All Events Cancelled

Despite the gentle easing of lockdown and the slow return to a different kind of ‘normal’, CV19 continues to have an impact. 

Certainly the impact on public health and safety has been major and the ripple effect of the lockdown has been wide. From our own perspective, this ripple effect has had a significant impact on our ability to prepare for our planned events. So, the Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat committee is sad to share that we’ve had to officially cancel our forthcoming events.

As many will know, our Open Day planned for May 2020 was postponed early into the lockdown. However, we remained hopeful of maybe holding the event later in the year. Similarly, we’d been planning a series of events and activities, including a major celebration, to mark this year’s 50th Anniversary of our rescue service. Clearly, with the ongoing CV19 situation, we need to confirm that these events have now been fully cancelled in 2020, rather than postponed.

This decision has been taken after careful consideration of the impact of CV19 on public health and safety, as well as on our ability to plan and deliver events.

Safety and protection – on the coast and in the community

The safety of the public and of course our volunteers is of course particularly important to us. After all, we’re here to serve and protect local coastal communities and visitors alike – it’s what we do. So we’ve been very mindful of the guidance and advice in respect of gatherings.

Additionally, because coronavirus and the outcome of the pandemic on UK as a whole is still revealing itself, it feels far too soon to be able to predict future risks. It’s with this in mind that we’ve had no option but to cancel our events and community fundraising calendar for this year.

In terms of our operational activities, we remain available 24/7 for rescue when tasked. With the latest round of lockdown loosening, our volunteers are looking forward to being able to return in limited numbers at the boathouse for our Sunday sessions.  From there, it may be possible to start planning for smaller activities once the summer moves on. However, all of those bigger events will move to 2021. But don’t worry, we’ll certainly be looking to make the most of the extra planning time so that we can share these special moments with our volunteers, friends and supporters.

In the meantime, thank you for your continued support and please keep in touch with us through our online methods … we do have a special announcement coming up for July! 

Whilst you’re here …

As a charity, everyone who’s involved in our independent rescue service is a volunteer. Our team constantly fundraise to cover all of our running costs, but CV19 has had a major impact on our ability to fundraise in the community.

If you like the work we do and would like to support us, please consider a donation. Even the smallest donation helps and could make a real difference to those in danger on our local coastline.

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

PLIRB in Multi-Agency Incident Response

On Saturday 16th May, the Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat team was tasked to support multiple agencies in an incident on the Pett Level coastline.

Our teams were  tasked in response to an incident alongside other coastal rescue team colleagues at HM Coastguards and RNLI Hastings. Sussex Police and Border Force were also involved in the incident, of an incoming boat arriving to the local beach at Pett Level.

Many of our volunteers were able to respond to the call for assistance. Available individuals, including Helms, Launch Authority, crew members, trainees and base volunteers, all arrived quickly and responded as directed.

An extremely low tide made both the dinghy’s arrival and the involvement of larger rescue craft hazardous, so an inshore rescue boat was the only craft suitable for safely providing a tow. In response, our Margaret & John Pulfer inshore rescue boat was launched, with a crew of three.

Whilst providing a tow to the dinghy, our crew also gave safe escort for the 25 displaced persons who were on board. Once ashore, the occupants of the boat, who had sailed across from France, were supported by the multiple agencies who were present.

Our base crews then supported with first aid assistance, providing foil blankets and water, as required. Our base and boathouse was made available to emergency services and Border Force. In this way, we were able to accommodate the boat’s occupants and provide operational shelter and hospitality for our service colleagues.

As lockdown restrictions are not yet fully lifted and there was a significant number of services gathered to help with the incident, social distancing was maintained as much as possible in the circumstances.

Once the incident was stood down, our volunteer crews then spent an extended time cleaning and disinfecting all equipment and premises, before the Pulfer boat was finally returned to the boathouse.

Thanks to everyone who was able to respond this afternoon – we’re pleased to have been of assistance.

*All photos were taken by PLIRB volunteers John and Martin – please do not use without permission *

Whilst you’re here …

As an independent rescue service, we fundraise to buy all of our own equipment. We now urgently need to replace foil blankets and other resources used in this incident. But with our community fundraising still in lockdown, it could take us a while.

However, 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.

Community Volunteering During Covid-19

At Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat, our volunteers maintain an on-call service 24/7, ready to respond when tasked to issues along the coastline. 

And although we haven’t been able to gather together as a group to carry out our other activities, such as fundraising, committee and trustee work, community support has remained close to our hearts …

Community volunteering during lockdown

So several of our volunteers have been quietly – and individually – supporting other community causes over the last three months.

Take Kev (photo above), our Launch Vehicle volunteer, who explains his motivation for community volunteering and the groups he’s been helping:

“I spent most of my working life in crown service, army and Prison Service, so when this virus hit our shores I felt that I needed to contribute in some way other than supporting my wife who is an A&E Sister. I first signed up to NHS Responders for buddy chats and medicine delivery but, as I only had one call to volunteer, I decided to look for other ways to contribute.

So I also joined Team Rubicon UK, a veteran-based international volunteer service. They’d just started Op-React in response to the pandemic. However, most jobs aren’t in my area so I found a volunteer motorcycle group, Volunteer Riders UK. This group transports vital PPE around the country by bike, quite often via complicated relays from one end of the UK to the other. I’ve now completed my first job collecting and delivering scrubs from one volunteer to another in Kent.”

Other PLIRB volunteers are also carrying out roles in the community.

Three of our volunteers joined the local arms of the Rye Mutual Aid group, delivering medication and shopping to local residents in Pett, Winchelsea and Winchelsea Beach. This support has been ongoing since the early weeks of the crisis and continues, as John’s photo shows!

Two of our team members also volunteer with the NHS Volunteer Responders and GoodSam, delivering medication in Fairlight and other local communities.

Another of our team has also responded to the call for additional workers in retail, and is now working temporarily as a delivery driver for a well-known supermarket.

Looking out and looking ahead

So, whilst you’re not seeing our familiar faces down at the boathouse, please be assured we’re very much around and looking out for our communities. And of courrse, we’re also looking ahead to when we’ll be able to resume our own full services in the local area.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in any of the groups we’ve mentioned, please see below:

  • If you would like to receive help or volunteer for Rye Mutual Aid, you can visit the Rye Mutual Aid website or contact them direct on Facebook.
  • If you’re a veteran and would like to be involved with Re:Act, there’s plenty of information on the Team Rubicon website.
  • Similarly, if you have a motorbike and want to get involved, check out the Volunteer Riders UK group on Facebook.

Finally, if you are a local resident and need some help, Rye News recently published a useful Services Offered page, with links to various community groups and services. Rye News also has a separate page with more information and contact numbers for all the groups (including Pett) which are part of Rye Mutual Aid. 

How lockdown shopping could help keep our rescue boat afloat

Coronavirus is bad news for everyone and we sincerely hope that everyone, including friends and supporters of our rescue boat and our local communities are doing OK, and keeping as safe and as healthy as possible over this difficult time.

Although our rescue boat volunteers are unable to gather together at the moment, work carries on quietly behind the scenes to keep us rescue-ready, tso we can respond to emergencies and save lives as needed.

However, as an independent rescue service, keeping ourselves afloat (financially and literally) is a concern. To be honest, it’s also a major challenge in the current lockdown situaton.

Ordinarily at this time of year, our May Open Day would be coming up, and would have generated some of the funds needed to keep our charity afloat during the summer. But now that this, our primary annual fundraiser, is cancelled until at least September, we’re thinking differently. Certainly, the challenge is to raise funds from behind closed doors, to help us keep our lovely local beaches safe once lockdown is lifted.

And there is a way we can do it … with no risk to anyone but with a bit of help from our friends!


Welcome to our #SofaSurfingShoppingChallenge!

With the switch to online grocery shopping, there’s now an extra way to help us raise funds but without costing anyone a penny extra. Several of the major supermarkets, as well as other retailers, give to charities through the Give As You Live shopping platform. By signing up to support PettLlevel Independent Rescue Boat as your chosen charity within Give As You Live, then shopping through the portal, you could help us raise money.

We previously wrote a how-to post on this, which you can read here.

Just taking the extra time to do this, and shopping through the Give As You Live platform instead of going direct to the websites of your favourite shops, you will be taking a small extra step that could make a big difference to us.

We have several fundraising projects on the go, but we’ll call this one our #SofaSurfingShoppingChallenge! All funds raised will go into our running costs pot, which helps us with onging maintenance and equipment.


Now then … we’d love to start of with a goal of £500 for this!


Too much, too little? Who knows? One thing’s for sure though, £500 is a drop in the ocean compared to our annual running costs of around £7,500! So what we do know is that we’d appreciate any support you can give us, perhaps through shopping and sharing our #SofaSurfingShoppingChallenge!

We’re launching this campaign on our social media today too (Facebook @PettLevelRescueBoat  and Twitter @PLIRBRescue) and will add updates there as well as here on the blog, to let you know how much progress we’re making. Thanks so much for getting involved with our #SofaSurfingShoppingChallenge!