SOS pedal power to the rescue (boat)

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Local charity, Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat (PLIRB) has just received a welcome boost to its funds thanks to a determined cycling enthusiast and some very generous sponsors.

Despite the awful wet, windy weather of Saturday, September 26, Sean O’Sullivan of SOS Entertainment stuck to his plan of cycling 54 miles to help fundraise for the charity which has been struggling since the pandemic closed down all its usual community fundraising events for 2020.

Although Sean’s route, from Rye Harbour out towards Ashford then back along the coast to Pett Level and the PLIRB’s boathouse, had been carefully planned, the predictably unpredictable weather swept in!

Friends and colleagues following his progress on social media were treated to video footage and photos of Sean battling the elements, with gusting headwinds against him for most of his route.

charity bike ride, Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat

By the time Sean was able to start his return journey back towards Rye to come back along the coast, the wind had worsened, so the respite Sean hoped for actually turned out to be more of the same: a workout against the wind. Although he’d trained hard and was cycling in excess of 30 miles in training, the cycle into the headwind made the whole trip much more exhausting than anticipated.

“It was a lot tougher than I thought, and that’s purely due to the wind,” Sean said afterwards. “I regularly ride 30 miles or more and the 54 miles just wouldn’t have been a problem if it wasn’t for that wind – I literally had it against me all the way round! It felt like it doubled the distance with the strain and effort it took.”

For Sean, the leg of the journey presenting the most problems came between Camber and Winchelsea Beach. This stretch, followed by that last long push along Sea Road to Pett Level became an equal battle between the effects of the ferocious wind and severe muscle burn to Sean’s legs, caused by the effort of cycling against it. But what made a difference for Sean was knowing that this test of endurance was for a good cause – that, and feeling well supported on social media and from volunteers at the PLIRB who were waiting to greet him at the boathouse.

“I’m so glad I did it because I was well supported,” Sean said the next day. “The way the PLIRB volunteers thanked me when I got back … I couldn’t get over it … there were two people out by the road clapping and applauding as I came through, that was great.”

The PLIRB volunteers intend to hold a proper ‘thank you’ for Sean at the boathouse once restrictions are eased, but after Sean arrived safely there was time for a quick photo and refreshments to say thank you for all Sean’s hard work.

New chairman of the PLIRB committee, Kev Nuttall said “all the volunteers here are very grateful to Sean for raising so much to help Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat at this difficult time. We’d also like to say a big thank you to everyone who donated online and in cash to support Sean’s amazing effort.”

Between the amount donated through Sean’s giving page, online via the PLIRB website as sponsorship and through cash donations on the day, the final total raised in Sean’s epic pedal for PLIRB should be around £600, which Sean is delighted with.

“It’s going to a great cause, so it’s well worth it,” he said afterwards. “But next year, I think I’ll just bake a cake or something!”

If you would like to know more about Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat please visit plirb.com. If you would like to know more about Sean O’Sullivan and SOSEntertainment Party, please visit  sosentertainment.party.

Image Credits: Katherine Crowther , Bob Cheeseman .

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