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Coastguard team member and her dog is walking 630 miles in aid of three charities

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Coastguard team member and her dog is walking 630 miles in aid of three charities

Pippa Unwin and her collie-cross dog Bonnie are walking the 630-mile South West Coast Path in aid of the National Coastwatch Institution, the Devon Air Ambulance and Cornwall Air Ambulance. 

Pippa is a member of the Bigbury Coastguard Rescue Team and the team often work with the National Coastwatch Institution, the Devon Air Ambulance and Cornwall Air Ambulance, meaning she knows first hand the great work they do.

Pippa and Bonnie setting off in the pouring rain on 17 September

Pippa said: "I'm a Coastguard Rescue Officer based in South Devon and we work with all these amazing organisations to help keep people safe beside the sea. I'm hoping to raise awareness of who we are and what we do and will be calling in to all the Coastguard stations and Coastwatch lookouts to say hello and scrounge a cup of tea.

"We [Coastguard Rescue Officers] are often confused with the National Coastwatch Institution. The NCI provide the eyes and ears along the coast, monitoring radio channels and providing a listening watch in poor visibility, while HM Coastguard teams are actively involved in Search and Rescue and provide assistance to those in distress around the coast.

"When people get into trouble, the NCI are there to alert HM Coastguard and direct the appropriate rescue services to the casualty."

Pippa, Bonnie and a furry friend leaving Padstow on Monday, 2 October

She continued: "Each station is manned by a team of fully trained and dedicated volunteers who keep a daylight watch up to 365 days a year. They are trained to deal with emergencies offering a variety of skills and experience, and full training by the NCI ensures that high standards are met.

"Each station is responsible for raising sufficient funds to meet its running costs, fund raising is vital for the efficient upkeep of the station.

"Devon Air Ambulance is the charitable trust which raises the funds to keep two emergency air ambulances flying and two critical care cars on the road, delivering enhanced and critical care across Devon. They are proud to be independent of Government funding; every penny raised is with thanks to the generosity of the communities, businesses and friends of Devon."

Visiting the Coastguard Station in Minehead at the start of the journey

The South West Coast Path is the UK's longest nature path and stretches 630-miles, starting at Minehead in Somerset, running along the coastline of Exmoor and North Devon before following the entire Cornish coastline, the south coast of Devon and ending at Poole Harbour in Dorset. 

On average the South West Coast Path takes seven to eight weeks to complete, but the current record is just over ten days. A very fit and fast walker could do it in around 30 days, but the official South West Coast Path suggests a 52-day itinerary for most people.

You can donate to Pippa's challenge by visiting her JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/team/pipandbonnieSWCP

Good luck with the rest of the trip Pippa! 

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