A familiar sight on the streets or in the shops of our towns and cities is that of an RNLI volunteer, complete with collecting bucket. It is wonderful that so many passers-by will make a contribution and pass on a few words of encouragement. Such giving is a vital part of the effort to support the charity that Saves Lives at Sea and helps to enable our lifeboat stations to operate day-by-day, year-in, year-out.
But it takes a special impulse to be proactive about raising money for the RNLI. Jason Reynolds, currently a chef at Rye’s burger restaurant The Hoof, recently presented a cheque for £100 to Rye Harbour lifeboat station volunteers at the town’s weekly market. This is the story behind that gift.
Jason is by birth a Londoner (Boreham Wood) and from childhood days two of his passions have been cooking and drawing. The first of these developed into a career: catering college in Aylesbury followed by wide experience in restaurants along the south coast – in Bournemouth, on the Isle of Wight and with Rick Steiner in Padstow, for example. He had been visiting Rye since childhood and “fell in love with it”, he explained, so that many years later it became an obvious destination for him and partner Jo.
Meanwhile he had never stopped drawing and painting, perhaps inheriting the skill from his mother, who was a graphic designer. “I love starting with that plain sheet of paper and then filling it”, he said. Often drawing would be the best way to wind down after a busy day in the kitchen. Jason is a self-taught artist but has enjoyed success selling his work on Facebook, and a website is in preparation.
“I love going down to the Harbour”, he remarked. “Drawing the old boat house I was thinking about the Mary Stanford story and everything that today’s volunteer lifeboat crews do for us”. The result, after auctioning the picture he created, was the £100 cheque for RNLI Rye Harbour.
This month marks the RNLI’s Mayday fundraising campaign focused on crew kit. It would be great if Jason’s example inspired others to find their own ways to raise funds for the RNLI.
Image Credits: Kt Bruce.