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.’