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RNLI help Northern Ireland animation company launch Lifeboat Luke

About the author

Image of Niamh Stephenson

Niamh Stephenson
Divisional Media Relations Manager

Lifeboats News Release

  • Date:
  • Author: Niamh Stephenson

RNLI help Northern Ireland animation company launch Lifeboat Luke

The RNLI is helping to launch Northern Ireland’s first home produced animated TV series Lifeboat Luke in book and DVD format. The programme is based on a fictional lifeboat station and the adventures of a lifeboat named Luke and his volunteer lifeboat crew. It has already been broadcast on RTE television in Ireland and has been bought by a number of countries around the world.

The RNLI were approached by Holywood studio Straadlooper when series creator Alastair McIlwain had an idea for the maritime animation series aimed at young children. The five-minute shows are fast, fun and packed full of colourful scenes and characters. The Straadlooper team have also created a website for children to go to and learn more about the series and the work of the volunteer lifeboat crews. It can be found at www.lifeboatluke.tv  

Lifeboat Luke has been a long-term ambition for creator and director Alastair Mcllwain, a resident of the Northern Irish seaside town of Donaghadee. "This first book and DVD make great partners. The book’s been designed in a way that can be shared by parents and kids together. As a sailor myself, I’ve a lifelong interest in the show’s subject so I’m delighted that the partnership will enable some of our profits to go to help the work of the RNLI and its volunteer crews. I’m also really delighted that we’ve managed to produce and finance the series entirely within the island of Ireland. It was worth the wait.”

It’s not all fun and games in Donaghadoo however as serious sea and beach safety messages underpin each episode. Alastair believes that the close association with the RNLI, who receive a percentage from the the sales of the books and DVDs and all profits when the books and DVDs are purchased from the RNLI’s stores or catalogue is a vital ingredient to Luke’s success.

Commenting on the Lifeboat Luke series on book and DVD Anna Classon, RNLI Fundraising and Communications Manager for Ireland added, “ This is a great project for the RNLI to be involved in and we are delighted that the series has been so popular. Our lifeboats and volunteer lifeboat crews can be involved in some very difficult and dangerous rescues so being involved with Lifeboat Luke, which appeals to younger viewers, is great fun. Today’s Lifeboat Luke fans may be our future lifeboat crews.”

Media contact

For further information please contact RNLI Media Relations Manager Niamh Stephenson on 00 353 87 1254124 or email nstephenson@rnli.org.uk

Notes for Editors

  • Photograph of Lifebot Luke launch shows UTV presenter Julian Simmons with Lifeboat Luke fans James Scott, Jack Scott and Poppy Woods along with animation figures Ardal the coxswain and friend in fron the Donaghadee lifeboat. 
  • Lifeboat Luke is a cartoon series of 52 five minute episodes for 4-7 year olds.
  • Lifeboat Luke book and DVD is available at RNLI shops or online at www.lifeboatluke.tv 
  • The RNLI has over 140 shops around the UK and Republic of Ireland selling a range of souvenirs, gifts, toys and collectables. Profits from the shops go towards the lifesaving work of the charity. 
  • There are over 230 Lifeboat stations throughout the UK and Ireland with over 70 life guarded beaches.
  • On average the RNLI rescues 4 young people everyday.
  • The RNLI relies on voluntary contributions and legacies for its income.
  • For more information on the RNLI, visit www.rnli.ie or www.rnli.org.uk
  • For more information on Lifeboat Luke, please visit www.lifeboatluke.tv

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Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 237 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland