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Mayor Deborah finds her sea legs with Donaghadee RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Deborah Girvan, is accustomed to the stormy waters of local politics but on Sunday morning (25 September) the Alderman proved she also has the sea legs for lifeboat work.

The Mayor spent more than an hour in the choppy North Channel with the crew of Donaghadee RNLI onboard their all-weather lifeboat Saxon, and watched as the volunteers practiced man overboard drills and a range of other emergency procedures. The Mayor was given a briefing about the work of the RNLI by Deputy Coxswain John Ashwood and took the wheel as Saxon reached top speed of 25 knots beyond the Copeland Islands.

Mayor Girvan said she was ‘thrilled’ to join the crew for an exercise and was so keen to see them at work that she turned up 40 minutes early at the lifeboat station: ‘The borough has 115 miles of coastline and three lifeboat stations so I feel it is important to support the RNLI’s fundraising efforts.’

The RNLI is one of three charities chosen by the Mayor and will receive support at the end of her year of office. Later Donaghadee RNLI Chairman Alan Couser presented the Mayor with a token of the crew’s appreciation of her support.

Alan said: ‘We were delighted to show the Mayor how RNLI volunteers save lives at sea and hope she will become a regular visitor to the station. Not every busy public figure is willing to leave their family on a Sunday morning to be tossed around on a lifeboat so the Mayor’s support for our fundraising efforts is very welcome.’

Photo Details
From left pictured during a presentation to the Mayor, Ross Bennett, John Ashwood, Michael Field, Alan Couser, Nicky Butler, Simon Oldfield, Mayor Deborah Girvan and Iain Kaleda. 

RNLI Media Contacts
For information please contact Maurice Neill, Donaghadee RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 0771 8160865, email or Twitter @Ailsapress or contact Niamh Stephenson RNLI Public Relations Manager on 00 353 1 8900 460 or 00 353 87 1254 124 email or Nuala McAloon RNLI Press Officer Tel: 00 353 87 6483547 email

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 Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 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