SHARPNESS lifeboat crew members will be walking from Gloucester Docks to their lifeboat station at Sharpness Old Dock on Saturday. – a distance of 16½ miles.

The distance - 16½ miles - might not seem a lot, but these volunteers will be walking in full lifeboat PPE – a drysuit with heavy steel-toe-capped boots, full lifejacket and protective helmet.

The kit weighs as much as 15kg (30lbs) and is designed for keeping lifeboat crew safe on the water, not for walking long distances.

The aim of this docks to docks challenge walk is to raise funds for urgent maintenance to the lifeboat station at Sharpness.

This grade II listed building is now 180 years old and needs extensive repairs to make it watertight, warm and safe for the 35 volunteer lifeboat crew who are based there.

A spokesman for SARA said: “We were hoping that the walkers and their support crew would be accompanied for part of the way by their friends and family – even by members of the public.

“But the new rules on gatherings mean that the small team of walkers will have to walk alone.

“In fact, on the day, all SARA support crew will be organised in teams of six or less – and they will also stick strictly to the 2m distance rule. If you want to see the challenge, please cheer the walkers on from a suitable distance!”

The crew will set off from Gloucester Docks on Saturday at 10am and are due to arrive at Sharpness Old Dock at about 5pm.

There will be stops en route at Saul Junction (just after midday) and Patch Bridge near Slimbridge (near the Black Shed Café and Tudor Arms pub), where they are due to arrive about 2.30pm.

The crew are hoping to raise £5,000 from the challenge walk itself, which will go towards their overall fundraising target of £25,000 for the essential repair work to the lifeboat station at Sharpness.

If you would like to show your support and make a donation, please visit their JustGiving page via:

Severn Area Rescue Association is run entirely by its volunteer crew and support staff, and its running costs are met entirely by public donations.