The RNLI and Vets4Pets host 'Welly Walkies' and family funday in Port Talbot

Lifeboats News Release

As part of their ongoing pilot partnership in Wales, which aims to promote water safety and help reduce the number of dogs and owners getting into difficulty at the coast, Vets4Pets and the RNLI are hosting a free family fun day and dog welly walk on Aberavon Beach on Sunday 29 April.

Charlie with his owner Lisa Fabb, Liz Blackwell, vet and owner at Vets4Pets Swansea.and RNLI volunteers from The Mumbles

Simon Edwards

Charlie with his owner Lisa Fabb, Liz Blackwell, vet and owner at Vets4Pets Swansea.and RNLI volunteers from The Mumbles

Charlie, a dog who was rescued by the Mumbles RNLI lifeboat crew when he became stranded after swimming out to sea, will kick off the 3km welly walk on the beach, which will create the shape of a welly boot. The event is a prelude to the RNLI’s fundraising campaign Mayday, which runs throughout the month of May.

Vets4Pets and the RNLI will both have stands at the Port Talbot RNLI lifeboat station, where they will offer welly decorating, a welly toss competition, dog paw washing station, expert vet advice on how to keep your dog happy and healthy on the coast, meet the RNLI mascot, Stormy Stan, RNLI kit demonstration and key water safety messages.

Sadly, more than 200 walkers have died since 2011 around the UK coast, many who were walking dogs.

To help decrease these numbers, the Welsh RNLI lifeboat stations have joined forces with their local Vets4Pets practices to raise awareness of water safety around the coast of Wales, in conjunction with the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign.

The lifeboat stations and vet practices are also supporting one another’s work in their local communities, which is where the family fun day and dog welly walk comes in. Colleagues from both the RNLI and Vets4Pets will be in attendance to offer water safety advice and top tips on how to keep dogs happy and healthy whilst on the coast.

Families and dog owners are encouraged to attend the event in their wellies to take part in a 3km walk in the shape of welly boot across Aberavon Beach at 11.30am. There will be an opportunity to donate to the RNLI charity during the event. Kicking off the walk will be Lisa Fabb and her dog Charlie.

Charlie was rescued by the Mumbles RNLI lifeboat crew last year after he swam out to sea and became stranded.

Lisa said:

'Charlie loves the water and always goes in the sea for a dip when we go for walks along the local beaches. One day we were enjoying a walk down Langland beach when we stopped for a few minutes to talk to some friends.

'Whilst our backs were turned, Charlie swam right out to sea. No matter how much we shouted and called his name, he just kept swimming further and further out. As Langland beach is in a cove, we ran out to the furthest point to get closer to Charlie. He managed to climb out onto a rock as we called him, but was still stranded out to sea, clearly exhausted.

'I was panicking and debating whether to go into the water to retrieve him, but my husband had read a few rescue stories recently and remembered to not jump in the water after dogs, as this only increases the jeopardy of the rescue.

'Someone on the beach called the Coastguard who advised us to wait as they sent out the cliff rescue and RNLI volunteers from the Mumbles. Within 10 minutes the lifeboat crew arrived, much to our relief, and a very happy Charlie jumped into their boat and they brought him back into shore to us. The RNLI team were brilliant with Charlie and we are so grateful for their help that day, which is why we can’t wait to help them kick off their welly walk at Aberavon Beach. It’ll be a great event and we are really looking forward to it.'

To find out more about the RNLI's Mayday campaign, please visit:


Notes to Editors

A news release will be issued following the event on 30 April and photos/video footage will be available.

If you would like to attend the event, or if you wish to receive the release, then please contact Kat Eddie, Richard Knowles, or Danielle Rush: / / .uk / 01925 756 486 / 07736 163 240 / 07786 668829.

Venue: Port Talbot RNLI Lifeboat Station, Princess Margaret Way, Port Talbot, Neath & Port Talbot, SA12 6QW

Event time: 10.00 – 4.30pm Sunday 29th April

Dog walk start time: 11.30am

Who will be there: Port Talbot lifeboat station crew, RNLI Support Office volunteers, Vets4Pets team members, Lisa Fabb and her dog Charlie, families with their dogs

About Vets4Pets and Companion Care Vets

  • Vets4Pets and Companion Care are part of the Pets At Home Vet Group, operated with their Joint Venture Vet Partners

  • As at 4th January 2018, The Pets at Home Vet Group operated 449 Vet practices across the UK, including 153 standalone and 296 in-store practices under the Vets4Pets and Companion Care brands

  • The Pets at Home Vet Group is committed to delivering first class service and high standards of care in their national network of small animal veterinary practices. It achieves this through joint venture partnerships with experienced and ambitious veterinary surgeons

  • Each Vets4Pets and Companion Care practice offers a comprehensive range of treatments from vaccinations, neutering, general healthcare and advice to the more specialised services of intensive care medicine and surgical procedures and

Charlie being rescued by RNLI volunteers from The Mumbles


Charlie being rescued by RNLI volunteers from The Mumbles

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.