Lifeboat welcomes champion fundraiser

Fundraising cyclist Steve McAllister visited the Wigtownshire region as part of his epic quest to cycle around the British Isles and Ireland, visiting all 237 RNLI lifeboat stations and raising money for the RNLI.

Retired school teacher Steve left Kirkcudbright on Wednesday 23 March, arriving at Portpatrick RNLI Lifeboat station just after 2pm.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were just leaving on an exercise, during which several crew members were being assessed in various aspects of the running of the Tamar class lifeboat, the John Buchannan Barr. Steve then met Coxswain Robert McQueen and Lifeboat Press officer Phil Bestjan, and explained that his aim was to cycle around the UK and Ireland, fundraising by visiting every one of the 237 RNLI lifeboat stations.

He started this epic task from the lifeboat station in Penlee, Cornwall in September, and estimates that the total distance covered on completion will be approximately 8000 miles. Steve also emphasised that all money donated would be given directly to the RNLI, and that costs such as accommodation, food and running expenses would come from his own pocket.

On the return of the RNLB John Buchannan Barr, Steve was given a guided tour of the lifeboat by Mechanic Alistair Cerexhe.

He then spent time with the crew before retiring for the evening to the Harbour House hotel, which kindly provided accommodation and breakfast free of charge in recognition of his charitable work.

On Thursday he left Portpatrick and visited the RNLI lifeboat station in Stranraer, where he was met by Lifeboat Ops Manager Terry Simpson and two volunteer crew members. They supplied him with some chocolate bars for the gruelling next section of his tour to Girvan, which included some long steep climbs at Benain Head and Glen App in poor weather.

Steve’s progress on this monumental tour can be followed on his website, www.rnlicoastalcycleride.com , where there are links to his Facebook activity page and VirginMoney-Giving page for donations which will go directly to the RNLI.

For nearly 140 years an all-weather lifeboat has operated from Portpatrick’s picturesque harbour.