Wexford RNLI volunteers facing the Perfect Storm this Christmas

Lifeboats News Release

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.

To ensure the RNLI can continue its lifesaving work this Christmas and into the future, the charity is running a major fundraising appeal called The Perfect Storm.

Last year at Wexford’s five RNLI lifeboat stations at Courtown, Wexford, Rosslare, Kilmore Quay and Fethard, volunteer lifeboat crew launched 55 times and brought 109 people to safety. 2019 looks also to have been a busy year for the crews as more people need help.

While many will be thinking about presents, turkey and time with the family, new RNLI volunteers at Wexford lifeboat station 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.

One of those volunteers is catholic priest Father James Cullen who is based a few minutes sprint from the lifeboat at the Twin Churches in the town. Fr. James was talked into coming along to the lifeboat station by his friend Martin Conway who is also on the lifeboat crew. He was hooked and hasn’t looked back. This Christmas will be his first time wearing a lifeboat pager on his belt and while he won’t be wearing it on the altar it will be with him at all other times.

Speaking about his role as a lifeboat volunteer Fr. James said, ‘I was born in near Curracloe but my exposure to the sea was limited to a couple of trips out on fishing boats with a cousin. When I’m out on the lifeboat I am just like any other lifeboat volunteer and I feel part of the lifeboating community around the country. My pastoral role has come in very handy and of course I am called on for the annual blessing of the boats during the Wexford Marine Festival.’

‘I recently went on my sea survival course at the RNLI’s training college in Poole with two other lifeboat volunteers from Wexford RNLI, Jo and Lesa, and it’s given me more confidence out on the lifeboat. We deal with every type of callout and I find enormous pleasure in bringing loved ones’ home to their families. Not every callout makes headlines but each one brings comfort to those who see the lifeboat coming. I’m proud to be part of Wexford RNLI and I am grateful that the charity can provide this service thanks to the generosity of the public and support its volunteers in this vital work.’

The RNLI couldn’t do what it does without the support of the public. The charity has experienced a shortfall in funds but is rescuing more people than ever before. Its volunteers are facing the Perfect Storm and are calling on people to make a donation this Christmas to ensure they can continue saving lives at sea.

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

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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

RNLI/Wexford

Fr. James Cullen Wexford RNLI volunteer lifeboat crewmember

RNLI/Fr James Cullen

Fr. Cullen blessing of the boats

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.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.