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Big River releases charity single for Gravesend RNLI and NHS heroes battling Covid-19

A charity single has been released in support of all key and essential workers battling Covid-19 but especially those on the water.

The Gravesend-based band Big River released You Are My Sun to raise funds for Kent NHS community heroes and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in Gravesend.

You Are My Sun by Big River. Video: Big River

To accompany the song, a lockdown-themed video featuring key workers ranging from truck drivers to NHS workers, firefighters, RNLI crew members and many more was also released.

Guitar player Damien Fawsett, a 46-year-old from Springhead, said: "The song has a deep meaning, and we thought it was a fitting tribute to key workers.

"The whole video was made in lockdown and we had NHS staff, firefighters, individuals from the Royal Navy and more all send us in pictures and videos of them holding the sign You Are My Sun.

"The song now has a positive message. The video starts off bleak but becomes more uplifting throughout. It paints the key workers like they're our light, sun, in these dark times."

Big River was formed four years ago and the four members have toured all across the UK.

The single, You Are My Sun, by Big River, is raising funds for the NHS and Gravesend RNLI. Picture: Amy Billing
The single, You Are My Sun, by Big River, is raising funds for the NHS and Gravesend RNLI. Picture: Amy Billing

The single is available on YouTube, but can also be purchased for £1 from Big River's Bandcamp Page, where all proceeds from the download of the song will go to the charities, with no fees deducted.

For those who would like to donate more, a JustGiving page has also been set up.

Gravesend RNLI spokesman Alan Carr said: "As a charity, we depend on the kind donations of the public.

"However, due to Covid-19 we can’t hold RNLI fundraising events in the same ways we usually do and, as a result, we are seeing our funds decrease, but our lifeboat will continue to launch to those in danger on the Thames, and now we need support more than ever.

"We are very grateful that Big River has released this single in order to fund raise for us. It is very much appreciated.

"May is usually a key part of our fundraising season with activities and events taking place across the bank holiday weekend marking May Day.

Volunteer crew members Alan Carr, Peter Birthright, Stewart Challis preparing the lifeboat. Picture: Gary Browne
Volunteer crew members Alan Carr, Peter Birthright, Stewart Challis preparing the lifeboat. Picture: Gary Browne

"The coronavirus has brought many challenges for the crew at Gravesend Lifeboat Station, but full-time crew and volunteers are still manning the station seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

"We wouldn't be able to do it without individuals like the Big River band fundraising for us."

The release came as the RNLI and HM Coastguard launched a new beach safety campaign urging parents to protect their families and save lives at the coast this summer.

Following the easing of nationwide lockdown restrictions in England, many more people are expected to visit the the Kent coast to exercise and take part in water-based activities.

Over the weekend of May 16 and 17, coastguard rescue teams were called out 194 times across the UK to incidents including; inflatables drifting offshore, crashed jet skis, people injured while out walking or cycling along the coast, paddleboarders, kayakers, windsurfers and kite surfers in difficulty and people cut off by the tide.

Despite the ongoing challenges posed by coronavirus and social distancing, the RNLI still hopes to provide a lifeguard service on around 30% of the beaches the charity usually covers in time for the traditional peak summer season.

While RNLI lifeboat crews and HM Coastguard are still on call ready to respond to emergencies, the message is clear; the public needs to be aware of dangers, take responsibility for themselves and their loved ones and remember that, in an emergency, call 999 and ask for the coastguard.

Gravesend’s station covers a stretch along the Thames which includes Gravesend and Dartford – an area from Hole Haven, at the western end of Canvey Island, to the Thames Flood Barrier at Woolwich, a distance of 26 miles serving Kent, Essex, and south London.

You can find out more about Big River, here.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

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