A Commonwealth Games medallist who also twice represented Great Britain at the Olympics is on her marks to get a Fylde fund-raising run off to a flying start.
Helen Clitheroe, who won 1500m bronze in Manchester in 2002 and also ran for her country in the Sydney and Beijing Olympics, will set runners and walkers off on the RNLI’s Leg It For The Shannon run between Lytham and St Annes lifeboat stations.
The run on Sunday, May 14, will be raising cash for the £275.000 appeal to help fund a new Shannon lifeboat set to take over duties at the St Annes lifeboat station next year.
The bulk of the £2.2m cost of the state-of-the-art Shannon is being funded by a legacy from a Hampshire-based RNLI supporter.
But officials are hoping the run, which has attracted hundreds of runners and raised thousands of pounds for the RNLI as Leg It For the Lifeboats for the last three years, will provide another bumper cash boost to the Shannon fund which has already topped £75,000.
Alison Young, secretary of the Lytham St Annes Lifeboat Station Lifeboat fund-raising and appeal committee, said: “We are thrilled to have a Team GB Olympic athlete to start our run.
“Helen is currently injured but hopes to be fully fit by then so that she can do the run as well as start it off it and then just go to the finish.
“It is great for such a star to help the RNLI raise funds to save lives at sea.”
Helen, who is based at Hutton, near Preston, said: “I’m really looking forward to starting the race and supporting the event. It’s a great cause and anything that gets people running is good in my book.”
The Shannon, set to replace Lytham’s current all-weather Mersey class lifeboat Her Majesty The Queen, is the first modern RNLI all-weather lifeboat to be powered by water jets instead of propellers. It has a top speed of 25 knots, is highly manoeuvrable and well-suited to the shallow conditions of the Fylde coast.
Lytham RNLI Coxswain Gary Bird said: “We are very attached to our Mersey and she has served us well for many years, but everyone at the station is very excited at the prospect of receiving a Shannon.
“It’s an incredible lifeboat and the advanced technology means we’ll be able to reach people in trouble at sea a lot more quickly than we can at the moment.”
The aim of the three and a half mile ‘Leg It’ run is to give the participants a fun day out as well as to raise funds and all ages are welcome, with fancy dress optional.
Registration may be done in advance on line at www.lythamlifeboats.co.uk or on the day from 9am at the St Annes Boathouse, from where a free bus will transfer participants to the start at Lytham.
Further details from Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org