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Donaghadee and Bangor RNLI thank American couple for their donation of $74,000

Lifeboats News Release

Bangor and Donaghadee RNLI have paid tribute to an American couple with strong Northern Ireland roots for a generous $74,000 donation which will help the charity to continue saving lives at sea.

RNLI/Phoebe Igoe

John Bradley

The late John Bradley who grew up and worked in County Tyrone, and his wife Sally Sue who he met as a pen pal, donated $37,000 each to Bangor and Donaghadee lifeboat stations, while Tower Lifeboat Station, based next to Waterloo bridge in East London received $5,000. Sadly, John Bradley passed away on 1 July aged 81. He leaves a lasting legacy to the RNLI with the Bradley’s donation to be used for vital volunteer crew kit and training.

John who was originally from Finchley, North London, moved to his family farm in Northern Ireland where he worked as a dairy farmer and rebuilt his family home which had been in his family since the late 1800s. He later worked in Dungannon. The Bradleys, who met one another as pen pals over a shared interest in genealogy, got married and then lived in LaGrange, Georgia in the USA.

John and Sally Sue admired the work of the RNLI and loved the story about Grace Darling in Bamburgh, the young girl who risked her life to rescue others from certain death in a terrible storm in 1838. John’s strong connection to Northern Ireland was the reason for their donation to Bangor and Donaghadee RNLI. John and Sally Sue visited Tower Lifeboat Station in North London while on holiday last summer and were so impressed by the work at the station that they kindly donated $5,000 to Tower RNLI.

Speaking about the RNLI prior to his death, John said: ‘In America we have the Coast Guard which rescue people and ships who get into trouble on the high seas. The U.S. Coast Guard is fully paid for by the government, but the RNLI needs donations. We are pleased to give enough money so that equipment can be purchased.’

Peter Irwin, Donaghadee RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said the station was overwhelmed by the Bradley’s generosity: ‘What a lovely story this is, albeit a poignant one now at John’s recent death. To think a couple who met as pen pals, married here but then moved to America but continued to share a passion for the RNLI and the charity’s work, would think of us in this way and so generously, is incredible.

‘These funds will go towards funding vital kit for our volunteers. They will also provide us with the essential training our crews need when they respond to their pagers and go to the aid of someone in difficulty at sea. We are so grateful and would like to sincerely thank Sally Sue and John, and remember John for his amazing support of the RNLI. We are saddened to hear of John’s death and extend our sympathies to Sally Sue and the Bradley family.’

Kevin Byers, Bangor RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager echoed the sentiment adding: ‘We took this picture of some of the Bangor and Donaghadee volunteers before we heard about John’s passing to thank the couple for their generosity and to wish them a happy 4 July. We send our deepest and most sincere condolences to Sally Sue on her loss. What an incredible legacy John has left.’

Ends

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Phoebe Igoe, RNLI Media Engagement Placement on 087 3979970 or Phoebe_Igoe@rnli.org.uk or 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. Alternatively please contact Margaret Ramm, Donaghadee RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07746633365 or Margaret.Ramm@travelcounsellors.com or Mark Johnston, Bangor RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07976256655 or rnlibangor@icloud.com

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For more information on the RNLI please visit rnli.org. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre rnli.org/news-and-media.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around Ireland and the UK. The RNLI operates 46 lifeboat stations in Ireland. The RNLI is independent of government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, the charity has saved over 142,200 lives.

RNLI/Phoebe Igoe

Bangor and Donaghadee RNLI

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.

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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 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.

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