Arklow RNLI Fundraising Chairman Michael Mordaunt

Michael’s fundraising antics in support of his local lifeboat station have been helping to keep the Arklow community safe for over 15 years. But he hasn’t done it alone.
Arklow RNLI Fundraising Chairman Michael Mordaunt

Photo: Nigel Millard

Arklow RNLI Fundraising Chair Michael Mordaunt

Michael is one of many devoted RNLI fundraising volunteers in his local community all dedicated to the cause of saving lives at sea.

He joined Arklow RNLI’s fundraising committee as a Fundraising Volunteer before becoming Branch Chairman.

At the end of the day, it’s all about that boat.

How were you introduced to the RNLI?

What got me involved was my mother.

I asked her once why she wanted to fundraise for the RNLI because at the time, I thought it was a paid emergency service. But she soon put me right!

She told me how the service is totally voluntary and relies on donations. How the lifeboat crews are made up of volunteers with no steady income. I didn’t know that. And at the time, there were lots of people like me who thought the same.

About 15 years ago she was helping to organise a pitch and putt golf tournament in aid of Arklow RNLI but she had to go in to hospital for an operation so I took over.

After that I helped her with a few more bits and pieces before joining the fundraising committee. 

Volunteers don’t always have the time, but they have the heart.

What does your role as Fundraising Chairman involve?

I organise the committee and I take forward our crazy fundraising ideas!

I have a great bunch of people behind me and I love working with them. We’re a great team and we get the money in.

For me, it’s all about the committee. When I first became Chairman, I watched how the committee worked and noticed there were a lot of people walking and we weren’t getting as much done.

Volunteers don’t always have the time, but they have the heart.

So I recruited a few retired people in and they do a lot of the day-to-day running. To me they’re the backbone.

Arklow lifeboat volunteers at sea onboard their Trent class lifeboat, Ger Tigchelarr 14-19

Photo: RNLI / Nigel Millard

Arklow lifeboat volunteers at sea onboard their Trent class lifeboat, Ger Tigchelarr 14-19

What’s the best thing about your role?

I’ve made some great friends over the years.

And the lifeboat has never been stood down. We’ve never had to tell someone’s story – they’ve told it themselves. If people don’t live to tell their story, then it’s bad news. At the end of the day, it’s all about that boat.

And the worst?

Having to tell the story.

We have some absolutely lunatic fundraising ideas but the committee are just brilliant and they go with them!

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve done or been involved in to raise money for the RNLI?

I’ve driven around Ireland to every lifeboat station in a Round Ireland 4x4 Challenge. There were six of us in two jeeps. We started off on Friday and we finished Sunday evening. We were on nearly every radio station! We were six strangers but by the end of it we were six best friends. You could write a book about it. It was absolutely fantastic to do.

Also in Ireland we have a Rose of Tralee Festival where every Summer young ladies from all over the country compete to be Rose. One year there was a Male Rose of Arklow competition as part of the Arklow Seabreeze Festival - I came second!

I’ve done Strictly Come Dancing and Jigs and Reels, the Irish dancing version of Strictly.

And for Mayday one year we made two big yellow wellies and pushed them 16 miles from Courtown to Arklow.

We have some absolutely lunatic fundraising ideas but the committee are just brilliant and they go with them!

Arklow fundraising branch volunteers mayday 2014

Photo: RNLI / Mark Corcoran

Arklow RNLI fundraising volunteer.

What do you do when you’re not fundraising for the RNLI?

I’m self-employed. I’m a Site Plumber for a family-run construction company.

For the past 20 odd years I have done football coaching at some of the local school clubs. But I’ve decided to take a break because I’m trying to spend as much time as I can with my two grandkids.

How do you juggle all of that with your volunteering?

With difficulty! It can be hard at times, but most of the time it’s a piece of cake, no problem.

All my family are involved with the RNLI. My sons help me out when I need it. My wife; my mother; my mother-in-law. I rope in everyone! It’s a family affair.

If I didn’t have my wife’s backing I wouldn’t be doing it. The partners in the committee go unnoticed really. I always thank the partners because without them, we wouldn’t have the volunteers. They’re a big link in the chain.

The RNLI is my passion now. It’s the third person in my marriage!

Why is the RNLI so important to you?

We see the lifeboat crew go out in some awful conditions and when they return, it’s such a relief. They’re a great bunch. They take it all in their stride and are so modest about what they do. 

When we’re having our committee meetings, no one sees them down there at the station doing their navigation or radar training or training out on the water. No one sees that.

The RNLI is my passion now. It’s the third person in my marriage!


You can hear more from Michael and what it’s like being a fundraising volunteer in our Magazine profile: Michael Mordaunt, Arklow.

If Michael has inspired you to make a lifesaving difference in your community, find out how you can become an RNLI fundraising volunteer.