HELENSBURGH’s lifeboat team had a special visit last week by a fundraising couple from London on a tour of Scotland’s RNLI stations.

Belinda and James Richardson stopped off in the town last week, almost halfway through a mammoth quest to travel to all 77 outposts in 19 days.

The pair, in their aptly named Porsche 911 “Splash”, are aiming to raise more than £50,000 to buy a D-class lifeboat and donate it to the RNLI.

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They started at Lerwick on August 23 and are due to finish in Kirkwall on September 11. They arrived in Helensburgh from Tobermory and Oban and were on their way to Largs and then via Bute to Tighnabruaich.

Belinda said: “We are very much in awe of the organisation as a whole. We are doing this for the 6,000-odd RNLI volunteers.

“We know what we are raising is a drop in the ocean in terms of what the RNLI have to raise every year but it’s great to be helping, even in a small way.”

The couple took on the ‘RNLI 911’ challenge last year and are focusing just on Scottish stations this year, visiting all the “nooks and crannies” of the islands. They plan to embark on a new challenge each year until 2024, when the RNLI will be 200 years old.

They always begin their adventure on the 23rd day of the eighth month of the year (23/8) because 238 is the total number of lifeboat stations across Britain and Ireland. There are 46 stations in use in Scotland and a further 31 no longer used by the RNLI.

Belinda added: “We are doffing our caps to the past crews as well as the ones we have today.

“There are some quite feisty seas in Scotland to contend with and this is what the lifeboat crews have to deal with every day when they are called out. When we started the challenge last year it was only ever going to be one year but, after about four or five days, I suggested doing it again and James agreed.

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“We have a packed itinerary, going to the Outer Hebrides and all the islands as well as all seven cities.

“It’s important for the future of the RNLI to keep raising awareness and money. We’ve raised around £11,000 so far, so that’s put a nice big dent in the total.

“The volunteers are a lovely bunch of people; we’ve had fantastic welcomes everywhere from young and old.

“I come from London and often Londoners get a bit of a bad reputation for not being the friendliest, but everyone in Scotland has been so warm and welcoming and lovely to us.”

For more information, visit rnli-911challenge.co.uk or the RNLI 911 Challenge 2019 JustGiving page.