The RNLI saves lives at sea.

Bruce Barrett

Picture of Bruce Barrett.

Take a bike ride on the water for the RNLI

Volunteer fundraisers will be pulling out all the stops as they churn Thames water in a bid to raise cash for the RNLI. But these whacky riders won’t be in a lifeboat – they’ll be heading down the Thames on a ‘bicy-cat’!

The madcap contraption is the brainchild of Bruce Barrett, the Chairman of the Petts Wood RNLI fundraising branch. He, along with friends and supporters, intends to ride the craft along a 124 mile stretch of the River Thames, starting this Saturday (17 July) at Lechlade, Gloucestershire and finishing at Teddington the following Sunday. Bruce has sent out an appeal for help from other RNLI fundraising branch whose ‘turf’ they will be travelling through, asking for volunteers to collect funds and provide overnight accommodation for the bikers.

‘It’s really a very simple machine.’ says Bruce, ‘In essence, two bikes have been mounted onto a catamaran, and a transmission system designed and installed so that pedal power is converted to water power. This – we hope – will drive us at sufficient speed to reach our destination safely. Water trials have taken place and early indications are that we can travel at a gentle walking pace. We reckon we can cover 14 miles a day at that rate.

‘Sadly the days when I could pedal for five hours on one day, let alone nine successive days, are past – so we’ve appealed for help from some fresh sets of legs. Effectively it will be a relay, with everyone who takes a turn raising money for the RNLI.‘

Being an RNLI event, safety has been given a top priority. As well as buoyancy aids for the riders, Bruce has also organised a safety boat plus there will be volunteer fundraisers to act as lookouts on the riverbanks.

The RNLI’s Senior Area Fundraising Manager in Greater London, Joy Baker, says:
‘Bruce has worked really hard on this event and has even gained some corporate sponsorship for the bicy-cruise. Not everyone realises it, but the RNLI is a charity and relies on donations and the volunteers who raise funds. I wish him and all those taking part the very best of luck, and look forward to seeing them cross the finishing line at Teddington.’

14 July 2004

My father completed this fund raising event only a short time after coming out of hospital from one of his many battles with cancer. By this time he had lost both a kidney and his bladder, and was truly exhausted by his efforts.

He lost his last battle with cancer on 22nd January 2009. The donations from his funeral will be divided between the RNLI and Harris HospisCare.

Added by: Sarah Luckham-Down on 27 January 2009.

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The RNLI is a charity that provides a 24-hour lifesaving service around the UK and Republic of Ireland.

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