North Dublin 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 search and rescue 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, Howth RNLI and Skerries RNLI launched 37 times, bringing 76 people to safety.
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 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 at sea.
At Howth RNLI two long-serving volunteers were recently recognised for over forty years’ service to lifesaving. Volunteer lifeboat crew Lorcan Dignam and Darrell Reamsbottom received their twenty-year service award. Both men will be on call over the Christmas and are delighted to have been recognised for their service.
Lorcan Dignam explains why he is still as passionate about his work with the RNLI as he was when he joined up over twenty years ago. ‘We are involved in exciting things and the lifeboat crew are a family. I remember hearing local stories about the lifeboats when I was younger and as a lover of water sports and a member of the local yacht club, I couldn’t wait to get involved. The ethos is exactly the same as it was when I joined back then and that is to help those in trouble at sea and bring loved one’s home.’
‘Things have changed in the last two decades and the training and equipment have got even better. Our kit is designed with the lifeboat volunteer in mind and has got lighter and more user friendly. The RNLI has given me the opportunity to develop myself and in doing that I have been able to give something back. We are all aware that it is through the generosity of the public that we are able to continue to provide this service and we are extremely grateful for that.’
Darrell Reamsbottom received his award alongside Lorcan. Commenting on why he is involved with the charity he said, ‘I was a sailing instructor at a young age, and I wanted to give something back to the community. There is a great bond among the crew and no matter what we face, and sometimes that can be challenging or difficult, I know there is a team here who will support each other. My pager has gone off while I have been sitting down to dinner on Christmas day and it ended up being a false alarm with good intent. Even with that I’d prefer we get called out as it spares a family the worry over a missing loved one. I have three children and I would be proud if they followed me onto the crew. They are a bit young yet, but they are all already lifeboat mad. Thank you to everyone who supports the work we do; without the support we couldn’t do it.’
Up the road in Skerries RNLI, the volunteer lifeboat crew have been training as they do all year round and are ready to launch if they get the call. The volunteers have a range of professions and Lifeboat Operations Manager Niall McGrotty is proud of his team and their ability to drop everything if that call for help comes in.
Commenting on the station Niall said, ‘On our crew we have six firefighters, two women and four men, who as well as keeping people safe on land are ready to give their free time to help save those on trouble on the water. We also have a doctor, a pilot, two prison officers and publican. It doesn’t matter what you do as the RNLI will provide the training. It has been a great joy to see people join Skerries RNLI and from starting with little maritime knowledge, in a short time, they have worked their way up to being experienced lifeboat volunteers. They give us the most important part of them, their time and their passion and the RNLI gives them the best in training and equipment. This Perfect Storm appeal will help keep our lifeboats on call now and into the future.’
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
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Niamh Stephenson, Regional Media Manager on 00353 871254124 or Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org.uk or Nuala McAloon, Regional Media Officer on 00353 876483547 or Nuala_McAloon@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 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.