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SOS Gallery 2012

When the William Riley was invited to be part of the annual RNLI SOS Day at Torbay on the 28 January it proved to be quite picturesque. To mark the RNLI's annual SOS Day, during which the Brixham-based Torbay crew aim to raise more than £10,000. The challenge for the twelve crew members team of rowers was to pull the former Upgang lifeboat across Torbay whilst wearing the clothing of an 1880's lifeboat crew. The aim was run in parallel with a challenge which saw the wives and girlfriends (WAG's) pull an inshore lifeboat on its trailer by road from Brixham to Torquay via Paignton. The historic boat stayed alongside its modern counterpart for half an hour before rowing to Paignton pier.

Spokesman Colin Bower said the wives and girlfriends will be collecting money en route, but the main revenue was hopefully expected to be raised via corporate sponsorship. He said: "We are asking local companies to sponsor individual crewmen for a minimum of £100 and for the ladies a minimum of £50. "For this they will have their name displayed on the Torbay RNLI website for 12 months."

In a departure all funds raised in the Bay will be spent locally so crews can be equipped with the new and improved RNLI lifejackets. Mr Bower said: "There is nothing wrong with the ones they have got now, but they are 10 years old and need to be serviced every three months. The new ones are a lot more comfortable to use and offer greater ease of movement. The new lifejackets only need to be serviced once a year. That in itself will save the RNLI money. The £10,000 fundraising target would help pay for new lifejackets for all 22 RNLI crew members in the Bay."

The SOS event is one of the charity's most important national fundraising events, and is a fun day when lifeboat stations and their supporters raise money by performing all sorts of fundraising acts. Last year people cooked and sold sausages on Brixham Harbour using the acronym SOS as Sizzle Our Sausages, while the lifeboat crew took part in the Surf Off Scillies event which raise over £4000.

The following photographs are presented here with the express permission of David Ham and Nigel Millard.

William Riley in Torbay
Testing Conditions
Missed Strokes
The SOS Experience Enjoyment

The photographs above feature the former lifeboat on the fundraising row whilst the photographs below present the adventurous WAG's challenge. The 22-strong crew took it in turns to row via Haldon Quay to Torquay where both teams where scheduled to meet up at Torbay's first lifeboat house. One of the Brixham Wag's, Michelle Heatley, said: "These men and women who support our lifeboats are an inspiration to us all. From the early crews who hauled boats overland, to the modern crews who give the essential service to anyone who needs them, the Brixham crew with the help of Whitby's own piece of RNLI history keep our shores safe.

Wag's Personal Challenge
Brixham to Torbay by road
Two Dedicated Teams
A Wonderful End to a fantastic challenge

You may find the following links, all related to the SOS day interesting.

The comic strip story of how the big challenge originated A poster generated for Torbay SOS followers
The first part of the route the wive's and girlfriends followed The second part of the route the wive's and girlfriends followed


The photographs above certainly give some idea of how successful the Torbay SOS day was.

© David Ham and Nigel Millard 2012