Lifeboat fundraiser celebrates first year of long coastal walk
Alex Ellis-Roswell has come a long way since last summer, quite literally.
The 22 year-old fundraiser set off in August 2014 to walk around the coast of Ireland and the UK to raise awareness and money for The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
The charity provides a 24-hour search and rescue service up to 100 nautical miles off the UK and Irish coastlines and relies largely on voluntary donations for its life-saving work.
Alex is nearly at the first anniversary of his three year challenge, which will see him cover 9,500 miles.
Journey of a lifetime
Growing up on the coast of Kent, Alex and his dad regularly sailed on the River Medway, making the RNLI a charity close to his heart.
Says Alex: “RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews save an average of 23 lives on the water every single day. Whether you sail, swim or even just walk along the coast, you could need the services of the RNLI at any time, no matter how much experience of the sea you have.”
Following the death of his father, Alex sold his three year-old advertising business and set off on both a spiritual and fundraising journey of a lifetime.
Armed with a pair of hiking boots, a tent and no experience of long distance walking, Alex has learned some valuable lessons along the way.
He says: “The biggest thing I've learnt is no matter where they're from or what their background, people are nice.”
From his Facebook and Twitter followers who have cheered him up when he’s been feeling down, to people who have rescued him from the rain or walked beside him, Alex is grateful to everyone who has been part of his journey.
Alex is coping with the physical challenges taking on a three year walk brings – aching knees, blisters, rough terrain and extreme weather. But dealing with the mental challenge has been the toughest aspect.
“I really could not have gotten this far without the support of so many people,” he says.
Put your trust in MyDonate
Explaining why he chose to raise funds for the RNLI with MyDonate, Alex says:
“BT MyDonate is great because it's a service that everyone trusts and unlike the other online fundraising websites available, it doesn't take any profits from the money raised.
“That's why I chose BT MyDonate. It was really important to me that all the money people donated, went to the charity.”
Alice Hunt, head of BT MyDonate explained the MyDonate team has been following Alex's trek for some time via social media:
"Alex has been on a truly inspiring journey and has raised both awareness and funds for the RNLI throughout. We are so proud to support him on his epic three year trek.
By using MyDonate Alex has ensured every penny aside from the credit or debit card fee reaches the RNLI. The processing fees other fundraising platforms charge can be as high as five per cent which based on Alex's current total would be around £400, that's enough to buy nine pairs of wellies or two safety helmets for the lifeboat crew."
Alex has now visited 120 of the 236 RNLI stations along the British and Irish coastlines and has met hundreds of the charity’s volunteers. He’s raised almost £8,000 so far and is well on his way to surpassing his £10,000 target.
Jennifer Hurley, RNLI community support co-ordinator says: “Alex has made huge personal sacrifices in order to undertake this incredible journey to raise funds for the RNLI.
“We have received great feedback from the RNLI lifeboat stations that Alex has visited and from the numerous people he has met along his travels. He has been a wonderful ambassador for the RNLI.”
Alex is expecting to finish his walk in the autumn of 2017 and says he has no plans to celebrate “other than to sit down, preferably somewhere hot.”