Lough Ree RNLI volunteers facing the Perfect Storm this Christmas
As Christmas approaches, the RNLI is issuing its own call for help as the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews are getting busier.
The charity is facing a ‘Perfect Storm’ with more people than ever needing its help, meaning support from the public is more vital than ever.
Last year, Irish lifeboats launched 1,066 times coming to the aid of 1,441 people,19 of whom were lives saved. Locally, Lough Ree RNLI launched 72 times, rescuing 188 people thanks to the direct actions of the lifeboat crew.
To ensure the RNLI can continue its lifesaving work this Christmas and into the future, the charity is running a major fundraising appeal, The Perfect Storm.
While many people will be thinking about presents, turkey and time with the family, dedicated RNLI volunteers at 46 lifeboat stations in Ireland will be ensuring their yellow wellies and lifejackets are ready for when the call comes and will be prepared to drop everything at a moment’s notice to save lives.
In many cases, family members will need to abandon their turkey dinner and head to their lifeboat station when the call for help comes in.
This will be no different at Lough Ree RNLI, where many of the crew have young children who will be looking forward to Santa Claus coming and playing their new toys with their parents.
Among the families are brothers Tom and Stan Bradbury who are helms on the lifeboat. Stan has one 10-month-old boy while Tom is married to Sarah, the station’s Lifeboat Press Officer and they have three children under three including nine-month-old twins. But, like the rest of the volunteers at Lough Ree RNLI, Tom, Stan and Sarah know if the call comes, they too will be willing and ready to drop everything to help someone in need:
‘Christmas is no different to any other time of year,’ Tom says, ‘We’ll still be on call ready to save lives and delay our own Christmas celebrations. None of our volunteer team at Lough Ree will mind doing that, that is what we are here for. It is our hope that no one finds themselves in difficulty in the water this Christmas, but should we be called out, there will be no greater Christmas gift for us than to bring someone to safety.
‘We couldn’t do what we do without the support of the public. The RNLI has experienced a shortfall in funds, but we are rescuing more people than ever before. We are facing the Perfect Storm and are calling on people to make a donation this Christmas to ensure we can continue saving lives on inland waters.’
To support the RNLI’s Perfect Storm appeal this Christmas, helping to ensure the charity’s brave volunteers can continue saving lives at sea, please visit RNLI.org/ThePerfectStorm
Some of the Lough Ree RNLI families who will be on call this Christmas. Pictured from left are Helm Emmet and daughter Isabelle Deveraux, helm Tom Bradbury with twin sons Tom and Ben, Helm Stan and son Luke Bradbury, Lifeboat Press Officer Sarah and son Alex Bradbury, Deputy Launching Authority Jude and daughter Ella Kilmartin, crew member Patrick and daughter Annie Walsh. Front, treasurer Vincent and granddaughter Ella Rafter.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please Nuala McAloon, Regional Media Officer on 0876483547 or Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org.uk or Niamh Stephenson, Regional Media Manager on 0871254124 or Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org.uk
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, in a normal year, 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.