Celebrity to open ‘bigger and better’ Lifeboat Week

Volunteers from Lyme Regis lifeboat crew pictured at last year's bathtub race
John Challis from ‘Only Fools and Horses’ will open this year’s Lifeboat Week

A FAMOUS face from one of the country’s most beloved sitcoms will officially open Lyme Regis Lifeboat Week this summer.

John Challis, who played Boycie in ‘Only Fools and Horses’, will kick off the annual fundraising week in aid of the RNLI.

The opening ceremony will be held at Lyme Regis lifeboat station, based at the historic Cobb harbour, at 1.30pm on Saturday, July 27.

The event will be followed by a welcome display by Lyme Regis’ Atlantic 85 ‘Spirit of Loch Fyne’ lifeboat, and the crew hope to be joined by Exmouth’s Shannon class lifeboat.

A packed programme of events will ensue in the following week, with one of the highlights set to be a visit from the Army’s Red Devils parachute display team, who will be landing on the sandy beach on Thursday, August 1.

Many favourite events will be returning this year, including the popular bathtub race, the tug o’ war across the harbour mouth, the yard of ale competition outside the Cobb Arms and the illuminated boats.

Music to suit all tastes features heavily in this year’s programme, with performances scheduled from the Greenwich Youth Band, shanty singing groups The Chantry Buoys and Harbour Voices, popular local band DeltaTango7 and the Three Counties Swing Band.

There will also be plenty of sporting events, including the annual fun run and swimming challenge. Golf enthusiasts can try their hand at the Hole in One competition off the North Wall and you can cheer on the lifeboat crew as they take on a side from Uplyme Football Club.

Family-friendly activities will keep the children busy all week, with the programme including sand sports, treasure hunts, pavement art and a teddy bear’s picnic.

New to this year’s programme will be a sing-along version of hit film ‘Mamma Mia!’ to be screened at the Marine Theatre alongside a competition for the best Abba costume for both adults and children.

The week will be topped off with a firework display, held jointly with Lyme Regis Regatta & Carnival Week on Saturday, August 3.

Lifeboat Week is organised by the Lyme Regis and Charmouth Lifeboat Supporters, with help from the lifeboat crew.

Chairman of the supporters group, Ken Lavery, said: “At first there were lifeboat days, but Lyme Regis has had a action-packed lifeboat week since the 1970s, and in recent years the event has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for our life-saving charity.

“On average the week raises between £30,000 and £35,000 and we are deeply grateful to visitors, residents and traders for their generous donations.

“This year we believe we have a bigger and better event all round, and all we need for another great week is good weather.”

For full details of all Lifeboat Week events, don’t forget to buy your programme, available in many local outlets including the RNLI shop on the Cobb or download a copy from the website www.lymeregislifeboatweek.co.uk

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