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Jonathan Hockedy

South Cornwall Coastpath Hike for RNLI

Fundraising for RNLI - Royal National Lifeboat Institution

raised by 17 supporters
  • Event: Jonathan Hockedy's Fundraising Page

RNLI - Royal National Lifeboat Institution

We are a 24 hour search & rescue service to save lives at sea

Charity Registration No. 209603


Two students at Exeter University, Gerard Owen and Jonathan Hockedy, will be walking the Coast Path the length of Cornwall, to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. We're setting off 14th July and hope to finish by crossing the Tamar into Devon 12 days later after completing a distance of 138 miles of coastpath and climbing over 10,000m (that's higher than Everest), carrying everything with us and camping along the way.

The work the RNLI do to save lives at sea and on beaches around the UK is essential, but they rely on donations to keep going.

Our choice of the RNLI as our charity was inspired by realising the number of lifeboat stations our route passed.

We were both particularly moved by the Penlee memorial at Mousehole and its reminders of the daily dangers of the sea and the selfless courage of the RNLI volunteer crews. To see why we were so inspired please read the story below:
On 19 December 1981 hurricane force winds of 80 to 95 mph had blown the Dublin-registered cargo ship Union Star off course after it suffered engine failure, and it was in danger of being swept on rocks.

The master of the Union Star requested urgent help and a rescue helicopter was called.

Later the Penlee lifeboat, the Solomon Browne was launched,  in support of the struggling helicopter,  into very difficult waters. As the conditions were so rough the crew of the Royal Navy Sea King helicopter from RNAS Culdrose were unable to lift any of the eight crew from Union Star. Realising that there was a high chance the lifeboat would not return, only one man from each family was boarded out of the 12 volunteers who responded.

The helicopter had nearly managed to lift a woman and 2 children from the ship. They were Captain Henry Morton's wife, Dawn, and her two teenage daughters, who were travelling to be together for Christmas. However the ship was too close to the shore and cliff edge and was rising and falling so much it was in danger of hitting the helicopter.

Lifeboat Coxswain William Richards made several attempts to get alongside. At least twice the lifeboat was thrown onto the deck of the coaster before sliding off and certainly slammed into the side of the ship at least once. Most of the waves were about 30 feet high with several in the region of 50 to 60 feet.

The lifeboat managed to rescue four people who jumped from the Union Star's wheelhouse onto the lifeboat. The lifeboat made a further attempt to rescue the remaining four. Her last message was: "We've got four men off, hang on, we have got four at the moment. There's two left on board...", after which, radio contact was lost.

Falmouth Coastguard repeatedly called the lifeboat but without reply.

A few minutes later her lights had completely disappeared.

The lifeboat had been completely wrecked with the loss of her crew of eight. The coaster was also lost. There were no survivors.

The crew of Solomon Browne were:

* William Trevelyan Richards (aged 56) (Coxswain)
* James Stephen Madron (35) (Second Coxswain/Mechanic)
* Nigel Brockman (43) (Assistant Mechanic, a fisherman)
* John Blewett (43) (Emergency Mechanic, a telephone engineer)
* Kevin Smith (23)
* Barrie Torrie (33) (a fisherman)
* Charles Greenhaugh (46) (landlord of the Ship Inn in Mousehole)
* Gary Wallis (23)

All left behind friends and family in Mousehole, many with young children.

Last year the RNLI rescued over 8,000 people, an average of 21 per day. It costs over £339,000 every day to keep the lifeboats ready for action at a moment's notice.

So please, pledge to give as much or as little as you can afford to support the brave RNLI volunteers who risk their lives to save others, every day.

Thank you.

Gerard Owen
Jonathan Hockedy