Clogherhead RNLI looks back on 2016
– a year of events, awards, partnerships and sad farewells
Clogherhead RNLI have looked back on 2016 and paid tribute to all those who made it such a memorable year for the lifeboat station and its volunteers. The lifeboat crew, station management and fundraisers worked hard throughout the year to bring a calendar of events and successful partnerships to fruition. It was a year when the station worked with other community groups and organisations to promote their work and the village taking part in some major events along the way. New friends were made and sadly old friends were lost.
Back in March the lifeboat was launched to reports of a distress EPIRB signal received from a fishing vessel located 25 miles east of Clogherheard. While en route to the location of the signal, the Clogherhead crew was informed that the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 had winched three people from a liferaft and were proceeding to hospital. The lifeboat continued on to the signal's location and recovered the liferaft while the EPIRB was found nearby.
Later that month RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew from across Ireland took part in the Easter 1916 centenary commemoration which saw over seven hundred members of the Irish emergency services taking part in the biggest parade in the history of the state. Fifty RNLI volunteers came from twenty-nine lifeboat stations around the country to parade through Dublin City Centre to mark the centenary. The RNLI formed part of the emergency services section of the parade which recognised the ‘blue-light’ agencies serving the Irish state since its foundation. Representing Clogherhead RNLI was volunteer Shore Crew member Carolyn Stanley, the grand-daughter of Joe Stanley, Pádraig Pearse’s press agent and printer. During the Easter Rising Pádraig Pearse relied on his young press agent, Joe Stanley, to convert his hand written communiques into printed documents for onward circulation throughout the city. It was Joe Stanley who published the First Documents of the newly proclaimed republic.
In June four Louth volunteers were honoured at the annual RNLI awards held in the Guinness Storehouse for their incredible contribution to the charity. Brendan Hoey received a Bar to Gold Badge for his thirty years of volunteering while Anne Levins, Terry Rath and Deirdre Delaney received Gold Badges for their outstanding contribution to volunteering. Between them these volunteers have given thousands of hours to the RNLI, working hard to raise awareness and funds for the work of the charity in Clogherhead.
In July Clogherhead RNLI threw open its doors to welcome the community in for their annual open day. The sun shone and the station’s all-weather lifeboat Doris Bleasdale was gleaming. Queues of people waiting patiently to tour the lifeboat station and were greeted by the RNLI’s mascot Stormy Stan. It was a record-breaking attendance for the station and the volunteers were thrilled.
Another highlight of the year was Clogherhead RNLI’s involvement in the Pride of Place competition along with many other community groups and speakers. The ‘Community Oscars’ saw Clogherhead top the prestigious Island and Coastal Community category. The station was proud to be part of the submission and spoke about their work and involvement in the community highlighting their history and life-saving work.
The summer also saw the Drogheda Maritime Festival take place and the lifeboat station brought their all-weather lifeboat down to the quayside. They also welcomed some important visitors to their stand and onboard the lifeboat for a personal tour. The guests were from Belarus and have been regular visitors to Ireland with the Chernobyl Children’s Charity. The RNLI have a wonderful partnership with the charity through their Drogheda representative Isobel Sanroma who brought the charity’s CEO Adi Roche to visit the lifeboat station earlier in the year. Each year Clogherheard RNLI station mechanic Padraig Rath helps the charity organise the St. Stephen’s Day Swim on Clogherhead beach, which last year raised €6,000 for a building project to rehouse children living in institutions.
Sadly the year was not without tragedy when local man and diver Craig Byrne lost his life in September. The lifeboat was launched and rushed to the scene when he got into difficulty diving, along with the Irish Coast Guard who transferred him to hospital where sadly he passed away. The whole village was in mourning and Craig is remembered with great affection. The thoughts and sympathies of everyone with Clogherhead RNLI is with his family and loved ones.
As the year draws to a close and a new one beckons, Clogherhead RNLI found themselves rescuing Santa Claus and landed him on the beach to be met by local school children. This followed the popular ‘Polar Plunge’ which was held for Special Olympics on Clogherhead beach and where the lifeboat station was operations hub on the day. The team will once again round out the year supporting the Chernobyl Swim on St. Stephen’s Day. This will be the 16th annual swim and funds raised will assist with the treatment of ‘Chernobyl Heart Syndrome’ – a life-threatening condition affecting 6000 children each year.
Clogherhead RNLI would like to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and peaceful New Year and remind everyone that their hours of business remain 24/7 all year round.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Gerry Kelly Clogherhead RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer Tel: 00353872391083 email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Niamh Stephenson RNLI Public Relations Manager Tel: 087 1254 124 / 01 8900 460 email Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org or Nuala McAloon RNLI Press Officer Tel: 087 6483547 Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org
Key facts about the RNLI
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 over 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.