Hoylake RNLI and Sailing Club to go head-to-head in annual Boxing Day Tug O’War

Lifeboats News Release

Volunteers from the Hoylake RNLI lifeboat crew will be facing a team from Hoylake Sailing Club in the 47th annual Slater Trophy Tug O’War on Hoylake Beach at noon on Boxing Day.

RNLI/Victoria Phipps

The Hoylake RNLI and Sailing Club teams after the 2018 competition

The friendly competition was established in 1972 by Arthur Slater of Hoylake Sailing Club and Hoylake RNLI Coxswain Danny Triggs. It is now a firm festive fixture in the local community.

Since the tradition began, hundreds of spectators have gathered outside the Sailing Club to watch the two teams battle it out on the sand for the coveted Slater Trophy: a small teapot that bears the name of the winning team stretching back for nearly 50 years.

The humble trophy started life in the boardroom of Cammell Laird shipbuilders in the 1960s when the Polaris programme’s Resolution-class submarines were under construction in Birkenhead. The teapot was thrown out, dented and dull, into a McDermott’s sprout box and found its way to Hoylake.

After the inaugural Tug O’War tournament in 1972, the teapot was discovered, polished and engraved with the name of the first winning team - the 'Lifeboat'. So began nearly five decades of local competition, normally celebrated afterwards with a toast to the participants in the Sailing Club.

Hoylake RNLI Coxswain Andy Dodd said: 'It's great that what started out as a bit of fun nearly 50 years ago has become such a meaningful event in the community's calendar. We're always encouraged to see more and more people attending each year and we look forward to welcoming everyone on Boxing Day.'

The event is free to watch and a great opportunity to walk off Christmas lunch, followed by refreshments in Hoylake Sailing Club.

Volunteers will also be on the promenade collecting donations for the RNLI, which this winter needs support from the public more than ever. The charity is facing a Perfect Storm: its volunteer lifeboat crews are busier than ever and people are still drowning around the coast of the UK and Republic of Ireland, but its income has gone down.

Andy added: 'We hope that people will show their support for the RNLI both by cheering on the team on the beach and by helping to fund our lifesaving work at sea.'

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact:

  • Dan Whiteley, Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer on 07799 851 316 or email dan_whiteley@rnli.org.uk
  • Eleri Roberts, RNLI Regional Media Officer on 07771941390 or email eleri_roberts@rnli.org.uk
  • RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789

Stratus Imagery

Hundreds of spectators head to Hoylake beach to watch the Tug o'War each year

RNLI/Victoria Phipps

The Slater Trophy - a small teapot - bears the names of the winning teams since 1972

RNLI/Victoria Phipps

Hoylake RNLI heave on the rope during the 2018 competition

RNLI/Victoria Phipps

Hoylake Sailing Club hold their ground during the 2018 competition

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.