An Appledore RNLI couple who combine their home life with volunteering as crew members are the faces of the charity’s annual Mayday Appeal this year.

Join the Facebook Live chat Cuppa With the Crew on the Appledore Lifeboat Station Facebook page on Friday, May 1 at 10.30am. Picture: RNLIJoin the Facebook Live chat Cuppa With the Crew on the Appledore Lifeboat Station Facebook page on Friday, May 1 at 10.30am. Picture: RNLI

With the global pandemic forcing appeal activities online this year, Nat Simmons and her partner Rich Withey are launching the fundraising appeal on Friday (May 1) by inviting supporters to a ‘Cuppa with the Crew’, a Facebook Live session.

Starting as shore crew in 2016 and progressing to passing out as navigator on the station’s all-weather lifeboat, Nat and Rich are no stranger themselves to fundraising for the charity.

During their time with the RNLI, they have got involved in a variety of fundraising events, from Rich organising a 100-mile Tour de Yellow Welly cycle ride to playing music at a fashion show.

Supporters can join Nat and Rich between 10.30-11am via the Appledore Lifeboat Station Facebook page to ask questions about fundraising and their role on the crew and enjoy a well-deserved tea break, all for a small donation of the price they would usually pay for a takeaway coffee or tea.

The RNLI is calling on people across the South West to help raise funds for its vital lifesaving service by grabbing a cuppa, joining a step count challenge, or ditching their favourite tipple for its online Mayday appeal.

Other RNLI Mayday fundraising challenges include ‘Step to it for Mayday’, which will encourage people to take part in a daily step challenge, whether it be laps around the house, a hike up the stairs or a stroll through the garden.

As an alternative, the RNLI is also challenging the public to ditch their favourite tipple, cups of coffee or cans of fizzy and only drink water for ten days – a lockdown detox.

Supporters can either gain sponsorship or donate the money they would have spent on alcohol or coffee over the 10 days.

RNLI fundraising, marketing and media director, Jayne George, said: “Our Mayday fundraising campaign is a vital event in the RNLI calendar and - given the current situation - it is more important than ever.

“For years, our fantastic fundraisers have given their time and energy in May to help out our lifesavers. But the welfare of our volunteers, staff and supporters is our priority, and the usual range of activities are now impossible. So this year, Mayday will look a bit different.

“While many fundraising events and gatherings have been cancelled, our brave lifeboat volunteers are still responding to their pagers and launching in lockdown.

“So, we are encouraging our supporters to take on fundraising challenges at home. That way they will be able to help protect our lifesavers, while also keeping themselves and others safe.”

To join Cuppa with the Crew, go to https://www.facebook.com/AppledoreLifeboat/ this Friday, or to find out more about Mayday and how you can take part, visit RNLI.org/Mayday .