Support the RNLI and sign up for Welly Walk at Pitsford Reservoir

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The Northampton branch of the RNLI has launched its second Welly Walk fund-raising event around Pitsford Reservoir.

Northampton may be a long way from the sea but it has had its own fund-raising branch for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution for more than 80 years.

It’s all about collecting donations so that when people from Northamptonshire visit the seaside, as so many of us do, they are much safer for there being lifeboats and beach lifeguards.

Volunteers from the RNLI’s Northampton branch can often be seen swinging their buckets at supermarkets, garden centres and canal and country festivals but last year for the first time they held a Welly Walk around Pitsford Water.

“We had about 80 people on the day,” said Jeff Sutherland-Kay, chair of RNLI Northampton.

“They all made a donation by way of an entry fee and the idea was that adult walkers would raise sponsorship from family and friends of at least £42 to cover the cost of a pair of lifeboat crew wellies. The Walk made £3,000.”

With the success of the 2015 Welly Walk under their belt, RNLI Northampton will be holding their 2016 Welly Walk around Pitsford Water on Sunday May 22 starting in Brixworth Country Park around 10.30.

Mr Sutherland-Kay said: “We shall have two routes, as last year. Walkers can do the full walk of around 11 kilometres or a shorter walk of around 5 kilometres, with entry fees of £10 for adults and £5 for children under 16 – children under 11 have free entry.

“The cost of a pair of lifeboat crew wellies has gone up slightly so we’re asking walkers to raise sponsorship of at least £45. All walkers will get (subject to availability) an RNLI Wellies badge and a T-shirt, with walkers who finish the course receiving an RNLI medal.”

The 2016 Welly Walk was launched at an event at Barclaycard’s Brackmills offices on Friday March 4.

“We have had some terrific support from national and local businesses,” Mr Sutherland-Kay said.

“Nationwide Building Society is covering all our principal costs so that every penny raised by the walkers can go to the RNLI to help save lives from drowning. Waitrose and Morrison’s are providing water for walkers and a number of smaller in-kind donations will make sure that the Welly Walk is another success. And of course the Walk wouldn’t be possible at all without the support of Anglian Water and Brixworth Country Park,” he added.

RNLI Northampton is hoping to double the number of walkers this year and the Northampton Chronicle & Echo is backing the fund-raising event.

To register online, visit RNLINorthamptonWellyWalk.eventbrite.co.uk, where you’ll also find a link to set up your own online sponsorship page. If you prefer, you can register directly with RNLI Northampton. Callthe branch on 07710 568860.

“It will be a fun event but with a real purpose behind it. Let’s make it a big RNLI success,” Mr Sutherland-Kay added.