A COUPLE who were forced to postpone their big day due to the coronavirus outbreak decided to use their time to help Sharpness lifeboat station instead.

Tim Barker, a crewmember from Severn Area Rescue Association’s Tewkesbury station, and his fiancée Natalie Murphy, had some time booked off work, as they were meant to be on their honeymoon.

With their plans scuppered by the pandemic, they opted to walk 130km along the Severn to raise money for urgent repairs at Severn Area Rescue Association’s lifeboat station at Sharpness, which is mostly located in a Grade 2 listed building alongside the canal basin.

The Old Dock House was built in 1840 and has been the rescue charity’s base in the south of the county since 1996. It is home to two small lifeboats, a hovercraft and the operations room for the team, who are called out 20 to 30 times per year.

The building needs urgent repairs, which are essential to keep the lifesaving boats and kit in good condition.

The building sits in a prominent location, which means that it gets lashed by the weather, particularly during winter months. Over the years, the volunteer crew members have made running repairs to it themselves, but specialist help is now needed as the repairs needed are beyond the skills of the crew.

On a whim, Tim and Natalie decided to hike from Kidderminster to Newport, to support Tim's colleagues in Sharpness.

In just four days, they visited every Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) station, from Wyre Forest in Kidderminster to Upton, Tewkesbury, Sharpness and Beachley, before finishing in Newport on Tuesday.

Tim said: “We did no planning or training, but we are both fit and healthy. We’re supposed to be on our honeymoon and we didn’t want to be sat at home doing nothing.”

The essential repairs to the Old Dock House will cost around £25,000. So far, Tim and Natalie have raised £685, with other fundraising bringing in around £1,000.

To donate to Tim and Natalie’s fundraising efforts visit: tinyurl.com/SARA-TandN