Thursday, 20 March 2014

Sherborne School’s housemaster spending Lent in a Tent for RNLI Swanage

Michael McGinty, the Abbey House housemaster at Sherborne School in Dorset is making his ultimate sacrifice for Lent this year, forgoing the comfort and warmth of his bed for 40 nights. Michael will spend Lent in a Tent to raise funds towards the cost of a new lifeboat station in Swanage, needed to house the town’s next lifeboat, an all-weather 25 knot Shannon class lifeboat. 
Michael, whose sons Alexander and Harry helped him come up with the idea, will also spend his 49th birthday which falls on Maundy Thursday (17 April) under canvas, he says;

‘We were out camping last year and started discussing what people gave up for lent, things like alcohol or processed food, but I really wanted to do something different and use the challenge to raise funds for charity. First of all I thought Lent in a Tent simply had a great ring to it, but slowly the plans started coming together and here I am two weeks into the challenge and so far so good.’

The pupils of Abbey House were inspired to select the RNLI as their chosen charity after a visit from Chief Executive Paul Bossier who delivered a powerful and inspiring lecture to the Sherborne pupils. 

Michael says;

‘Paul’s talk really struck a chord with the boys some of whom it was a surprise to hear that the lifesaving service was run by a charity, and that the lifeboat crew were made up of mainly volunteers. So when it came for Abbey House to choose a charity to support on a long term project, they were very keen to support the appeal for a new boathouse at Swanage RNLI.’   

Michael will sleep in his tent, which is pitched in the grounds of Sherborne School, until Easter Sunday. When asked what was the most challenging part of the experience he said;  

‘I don’t enjoy putting on a cold damp dressing gown each morning, and being woken at 5.20am by the dawn chorus at 5.20am is tiring.’

However, when asked what was the best part Michael said; 

‘Although tiring, waking up early to the sound of birds singing each morning is wonderful. However I am rather disappointed that the pupils have been behaving, I expected some kind of trickery from them but so far I’ve only had visits from the neighbourhood cats.’ 

Michael is aiming to raise £4,000 with an amazing £3,000 raised so far. To sponsor Michael’s efforts to spend Lent in a Tent visit his Just Giving page at  

Chris Copeland, Chairman of Sherborne RNLI Branch says;

 ‘Its incredibly kind of Michael to donate his idea and the funds raised to the RNLI. It didn’t take much persuasion to convince him of the importance of raising funds for the new lifeboat station in Swanage. The station will house, launch and protect the new lifeboat and provide much improved facilities for the volunteer crew including a changing and shower area, a fully-equipped crew training room, mechanics workshop, office space, and a base for the station’s D-class inshore lifeboat. The Sherborne RNLI fundraising volunteers are delighted to be able to support our colleagues with their appeal to raise £200,000 towards the project, and individuals as dedicated as Michael make the journey even more fun.’

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Our fundraisers celebrate the halfway point in their appeal.

Fundraisers at Swanage RNLI are celebrating this month after collecting over £100,000 in the first eight months of their charity appeal to raise £200,000. The money will go towards the cost of the new station needed to accommodate the town’s next lifeboat, which will be the 25 knot, all weather Shannon class. 
Credit: RNLI/Nigel Millard
The new Shannon will offer improved speed and manoeuvrability thanks to updated design techniques and water jet propulsion and is expected at Swanage in 2016, replacing the station’s current Mersey class lifeboat Robert Charles Brown.  

In July 2013, the Swanage RNLI fundraisers launched a special appeal to raise funds towards a new lifeboat station, which will house, launch and protect the new lifeboat and provide much improved facilities for the volunteer crew including a changing and shower area, a fully-equipped crew training room, mechanics workshop, office space, and a base for the station’s D-class inshore lifeboat. Now, having reached the halfway mark in the appeal, the fundraisers have paused to thank the local community and supporters further afield for their invaluable support so far.

Peter Foster, RNLI Appeal Fundraising Chairperson says;

‘It’s been a busy, but fun eight months and events organised by the Swanage Fundraising Branch have included a fancy dress Mama Mia musical sing-along evening, a traditional barn dance, bowls and croquet competitions, the Great Swanage Bake Off and more, all of which have been supported fantastically well by the local community. We’ve also been honoured to have received some amazing support from the community outside of Swanage who have adopted and embraced our boathouse appeal.

We’re now at the half way point, the second half of the appeal is traditionally the hardest as the initial enthusiasm wears off, but I don’t believe this to be true in Swanage. I think the station, the fundraisers and the local community have the motivation to keep going with a big push to try and reach our target in 2014.’

Some of the support received by the Swanage fundraisers includes the Fordingbridge RNLI Fundraising Branch who raised a staggering £15,000 by abseiling down the Spinnaker Tower in 2013. In February they raised £3,000 hosting a charity auction and are busy planning more events for 2014. 

In December, the Blackmore Vale RNLI Fundraising Branch donated an astonishing £30,000 raised during their annual Michaelmas Fair. . While the charity’s fundraising teams in Yeovil, Wareham and Wilton have collectively raised £10,000 through coffee mornings, talks, garden parties, raffles and other fundraising events

The volunteer lifeboat crew have also played their part, hosting Swanage’s annual Lifeboat Week during the summer and organising a car wash for the RNLI’s SOS Day at the end of January. The Purbeck Runners continue to support the RNLI in Swanage and last year donated £1500 to the appeal. While the Captain and Lady Captain of The Dorset Golf & Country Club are raising funds this year for the Swanage Boathouse Appeal
Some of the fundraising events planned for 2014 include;

15 March – Auction of Promises with the Lion’s Club
9-11 May – Official charity for the Diesel Gala weekend
20 June - Purbeck Runners 10 K and BBQ
17 July – Golf Day at Rushmore Estate
08 to 17 August – Swanage Lifeboat week
21 to 24 September – Jurassic Coast Golf Tournament

Neil Hardy, the RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager credit’s the appeals success to the determination of the local community to support the volunteer crew who provide a much needed lifesaving service in the town, he says;

‘Swanage RNLI holds a special place in many people’s hearts and we have had tremendous support, not just from our friends in the local community, but also that of people who, although they don’t live here, are fond of Swanage or who use the water’s nearby and want to offer their help. We’re of course very grateful and looking forward to the next stage of the appeal and the friendships it brings.’

To find out more about the events planned or donate to their charity appeal, visit the station’s blog at You can also donate £5 simply by texting RNLI SWANAGE to 70300.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Public meeting to view plans for new lifeboat station

The RNLI has been working on plans to replace the lifeboat station here at Swanage in order to accommodate our new Shannon class all weather lifeboat and improve the crew facilities.
We are delighted to be able to invite you along to a public presentation evening at 19:30 on Fri 28th March in the 'Winston Churchill Room' at Swanage Conservative Club.