Margate lifeboat volunteer Guy Addington is preparing to turn off the tap on his year-long challenge of taking cold showers outside to raise money for the RNLI, highlight the dangers of drowning and encourage the responsible use of water.
Guy, who is a helm on the station’s two inshore lifeboats, began his daily routine of taking a shower outside with a hose on September 1 2021 and since then has endured sub zero temperatures, hail, storms and driving winds – and even catching Covid – while at the same time recording a daily video on You Tube.
Guy’s 365th shower will take place outside Margate Lifeboat Station at 10.30am on Wednesday 31 August when he will be joined by RNLI crew members, supporters and his family to witness a challenge which has so far raised more than £7,000 for the charity that saves lives at sea.
“It all started as a bet with my wife Emily who challenged me to shower outside and then I decided to make it count ,” said Guy who has been a lifeboat volunteer for the RNLI for almost 30 years. “I’m passionate about trying to stop lives being lost at sea and also wanted to do my bit to help prevent coastal and sea pollution.”
Over the year he admits there have been some incredibly tough days. The coldest day of the challenge was on Thursday 6 January when temperatures plummeted to minus 3.5C and even the hose was frozen.
On Day 88 Saturday 27 November, he was hammered by hailstones (‘It genuinely hurt,’ said Guy) and on Day 71 (10 November) Guy was staying at a hotel in York and couldn’t get the hose hooked up, so he went to Kent Street Fire Station where Red Watch hosed him down. “It was brutal, particularly the pressure,” Guy recalls.
The windiest day was on Monday 31 January (Day 154) when Guy was in Chatham and for a couple of days in October Guy had to use a bucket and saucepan as he was on holiday in a caravan and there was no hose available.
“One of the worst things in the cold was the ice-cream headache I got from the water, I never worked out how to cope with that, especially if it was windy, although a lot of people found those videos quite amusing,” said Guy.
Apart from the weather conditions one of the biggest challenges has been filming, editing and uploading the daily films to his You Tube channel. On Day 169 Guy was editing his footage and accidently lost it, so there was no choice but to strip off, go outside and shower all over again. ”‘You can tell how annoyed I was in the video,” he explained. “At home it’s straightforward getting in the shower but for this you have to go outside, get the camera set up and then get the hose ready.”
Each day on his videos Guy has reported on the daily temperature, given a ‘brutality rating’ based on the weather conditions and read out birthday requests.
During his year-long challenge, Guy who is also the RNLI’s Water Safety Lead for the South East and London, was awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of his efforts in saving lives and promoting water safety. As a volunteer he has launched more than 300 times on service, aided more than 370 people and saved 13 lives.
One key element of the challenge has been promoting water responsibility: “Showering outside is great for water responsibility, not only by diverting water away from the drainage and sewer system but also saving water because one tends to be a bit quicker and I stop the hose with a trigger when lathering down,” said Guy.
He estimates that during the challenge he has saved 37 litres of water a day, and 13,505 litres over the year with between 11,000 and 14,000 litres of water diverted from the sewer network. Plus it means he has been able to keep his grass watered. ‘Give it a go, you’ll be surprised!’ added Guy.
His wife Emily has been supportive throughout the challenge although Guy admits she does get a little fed up with him talking about soap, sewage and outdoor showering.
Guy’s challenge has taken place in an area supplied by Southern Water which does not currently have a hosepipe ban. He has been in contact with the company who have supported his challenge as it highlights the responsible use of water.
Guy has been supported by Bare Bar Soap who have provided him with soap for the challenge and Frontline Coffee who have supplied coffee to warm him up each day. www.bare-bar.co.uk www.frontlinecoffee.co.uk
Guy’s You Tube Channel which shows his films is available here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuG0tYLHQKNgXZr0SxkDxpg
A link to his fundraising page is here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/guy-addington