HEADING out into stormy seas on a 17 metre lifeboat to attend stricken vessels is probably not most people’s idea of a fun way to spend the weekend.
But the volunteers who give up their spare time to crew Shetland’s two lifeboat stations are vital for the islands, so when she became a crew member at the Aith station, Elizabeth Wark wanted to do a bit more to help.
“It costs about £1,500 a year – and that’s ongoing – to train a crew member,” Shetland’s only female lifeboat crew said.
“The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) rely entirely on donations, we’re not publicly funded at all.
“It costs £250,000 a year just to run a station, and there are 25 volunteers at Aith, who all need to be funded.”
And so Wark – already the station’s press officer – organised a sponsored slim to raise funds for the RNLI.
So far she has 12 slimmers on board, all of whom are aiming to lose as much weight as they can by 31 May.
Prizes have been donated by local companies, including a day’s guided walk with Shetland Walking and Wildlife, an exercise mat from C&J’s sportswear and a £10 voucher from beauty salon Benessere.
Besides volunteering for the lifeboats, Wark’s other big passion is baking, so focusing on healthy eating and training – fitness is vital as a crew member – and giving up cake is a big challenge!
She has been on a number of emergency call-outs already: “I’ve been out three times now. It’s just brilliant being out on the boat. You feel so alive.”
You can sponsor Wark’s slimmers here http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/AithLifeboatSlim, or if you’d like to join in, get slim and help raise money, contact her on 07717 370942 or email: ElizabethWark@hotmail.co.uk.
Anyone interested in volunteering for the RNLI can contact lifeboat operations manager Jim Nicolson or coxswain Hylton Henry on 01595 810276.
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