Visitor Thanks St Mary’s Lifeboat Through Fundraising Challenges

lifeboat May 2015A regular visitor to Scilly is undertaking a schedule of tough sporting challenges to raise funds to thank the St Mary’s Lifeboat crew.

On the evening of 3rd August this year, Johnny Williamson’s RIB ran aground on Broad Ledge while he was crossing from St Mary’s to St Martin’s, the island where he has holidayed since 1977.

Johnny and his three friends tried to refloat it in the darkness and rapidly falling tide without success.

He declared ‘mayday’ and the ‘Y’ lifeboat was by his side around 15 minutes later to return him safely to St Martin’s.

Johnny says it was a very scary incident as the weather was poor, but he was reassured by the constant radio contact with Falmouth Coastguard and the lifeboat.

He saw the crew next day at an open day event on St Martin’s and asked if there was anything he could do to help.

Crewmember Pete Hicks explained that the station needs a thermal imaging camera that can identify people in the water up to 2 miles away, so Johnny pledged to raise funds to help buy that.

Johnny says he’s a fit and competitive sportsman, so an athletic event seemed the best way to raise the cash for the local RNLI.

He’s always wanted to ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End but didn’t want that challenge to “eat” into his Scilly holiday time.

So he’s decided to cover 1,000 miles on an indoor bike during the evenings and weekends.

That will require around 50 hours of peddling.

He’s also planning a “virtual swim” representing the 28-mile crossing from Land’s End to Scilly and he’ll complete 1,800 lengths of his local pool in Cheshire.

But that’s not all. Next year Johnny intends running up to 6 half-marathons for the Lifeboat fundraiser and he’ll cycle from coast to coast.

He hopes to present a sizeable cheque when he returns on holiday next July.

Johnny says he feels the Lifeboat crew do a “really special job 365 days of the year” and he’s really thrown himself into the fundraising challenge.

He’s launched his charity page on Sunday and has already raised £500 towards his £5,000 target.

You can support Johnny at his Virgin Money Giving page here.