A gig crew made up of RNLI volunteers and supporters is taking to the water in the 30th annual World Pilot Gig Championships this weekend.
The team, made up of volunteers from Salcombe, Looe, Exmouth and Bristol, will be talking to gig rowers and raising awareness of the RNLI’s prevention and safety advice over the course of the event.
Duncan Norris, RNLI volunteer Community Safety Officer at Salcombe RNLI and men's captain at Salcombe Gig Club, organised the crew after the Salcome gig club were short of a men's C crew for the event.
Duncan thought it would be great opportunity to raise awareness of the RNLI’s safety work in the gig community, by having a visible presence and involvement in the sport’s biggest event in the calendar. He put a plea on Facebook and several people came forward.
The crew is made up of Dan Margetts, helm at Looe RNLI and 2018 men's world champion; Mark Champion from Exmouth RNLI; and RNLI supporters Geoff Goddier from Salcombe, James Boundy from Cotehele and Luke Griffith and Len Collacott from Bristol.
Duncan, who is the crew’s cox, said: "The rowing community is made up of people who are used to being around the sea and have an awareness of the dangers such as tides and wind. Our aim is to raise awareness of the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign and be a catalyst to conversations about water safety and gig rowing.
"We will be in RNLI branded kit so easy to spot, and will be chatting to rowers and gig clubs as relatable people from the same sporting world with the same passion about rowing. We’ll also be flying the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign flag while on the water."
Duncan told Radio Scilly that the crew are hoping to raise money for the St Mary’s Lifeboat during the Championships.
He said: “The islands have hosted us for 30 years now and we come out and we have a fantastic time, it’s a fantastic weekend. So have a little think about giving something back. All the money we raise will stay here in the islands, it’s all going to be donated to St Mary’s lifeboat. It’s a fantastic cause so it would just be nice to donate a pound or two and we’ll leave that money here for the lifeboat station.”
The crew will have a collection bucket over the weekend. Support them online at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/ScilliesRNLIgigcrew2019.