“Roses are red, violets are blue — we could not save lives without people like you.” That was the message inside a special Valentine’s Day card given to a Bude couple walking around the UK coastline for the RNLI, when they arrived at Hunstanton lifeboat station on February 14.

Antony and Sally Brown set off from Bude lifeboat station in Cornwall on May 15, 2023 to trek the 6,000-mile coastal route around England, Wales and Scotland to raise funds for the charity that saves lives at sea.

Nine months and 4,300 miles later, their tired feet brought them to Hunstanton, where personnel at the busy station which operates a fast inshore lifeboat and a search and rescue hovercraft were on hand to greet them.

Hunstanton RNLI chairman Charles le Strange Meakin handed the Browns a card with a greeting from the station.

Charles added: “The incredible work of this station and more than 200 like it would not be possible without people like Antony and Sally, who raise funds for our charity.”

The couple, both 59, have so far raised £6,450 via their Justgiving page.

They have been staying in Nancy, their campervan, enlisting volunteer drivers to help ferry them to the start of each day’s 15 to 20-mile hike, at times resorting to hitch-hiking when help could not be sourced via social media.

Their adventures along the way include seeing hundreds of seals at Flamborough Head, in North Yorkshire, to finding themselves in one of the less-salubrious parts of Cardiff after a wrong turn.

They hope to complete the walk by May 22, which is Sally’s 60th birthday.

Sally, who works as a fitness instructor back home in Bude, said: “We started off saying if we make it, we’re now saying when we make it unless injury or anything like that scuppers us.”

As well as the inevitable blisters, the couple have endured just about everything the weather can throw at them along the way.

“There’s been 10 named storms this winter and we’ve walked through every one of them,” said Antony, a former escape room host who plans to write a book about their adventures.

Sitting down for a cuppa with some of the Hunstanton crew before setting off on the next stage of their trek to Thornham, the Browns said they had always lived by the sea and wanted to give something back to the RNLI for the job it does around our coastline.

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 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.

Anthony and Sally’s justgiving page can be found at www.justgiving.com/page/ukcoastwalk