Golfer Graeme McDowell hosts RNLI fundraising event in Portrush ahead of Open

Lifeboats News Release

2010 US Open champion and Portrush native Graeme McDowell hosted a breakfast Q&A before the start of the Open at the Royal Portrush, to raise funds for the RNLI.

Portrush Golfer Graeme McDowell with RNLI lifeboat crew, lifeguards and fundraisers

RNLI/Judy Nelson

Portrush Golfer Graeme McDowell with RNLI lifeboat crew, lifeguards and fundraisers

On his arrival at the sold-out event, the world famous golfer took time to meet with lifeboat crew from Portrush RNLI, the charity’s fundraisers and beach lifeguards, who will be on patrol throughout the summer in Northern Ireland. In an incredibly generous gesture, Graeme pledged to match the funds raised for the RNLI at the event.

BBC sports presenter Stephen Watson compéred the breakfast event before asking the famous golfer questions from the audience. Graeme spoke about his school visits to the Portrush Lifeboat station, and its importance in the town he grew up in. He shared practice tips with the audience and spoke of his aim to win in front of his children.

A capacity crowd of 270 people had packed into the Magherabuoy House Hotel to see their hometown champion golfer and he didn’t disappoint them. Graeme visited each table in the room, taking photographs, signing autographs and receiving tips and good luck wishes from everyone. Members of Graeme’s family from Portrush were in attendance, including his proud parents who were also joined by members of the family of another local golfing hero, Darren Clarke.

Graeme also gave out prizes to some lucky recipients, including signed memorabilia, a club and a coveted day pass for the final two days of the Open. The event raised a total of £12,816 for the RNLI.

Speaking about the event and what the RNLI means to him, Graeme said ‘I’m delighted to be able to support the Portrush and Portstewart RNLI fundraising branch in hosting a special champagne breakfast Q&A event to raise funds for the RNLI. This is a charity very close to my heart. I grew up in Portrush, on the coast and spent my childhood on the beach and the golf course. The lifeboat was always at the heart of our community, moored down at the harbour and ready to launch at a moment’s notice.’

‘The incredible lifeboat volunteers and the wonderful RNLI lifeguards on our beaches provide a vital service, saving lives at sea and keeping us safe.’

Portrush and Portstewart RNLI fundraising committee member Sharon Tea said ‘We are so grateful to Graeme for giving up his time for this wonderful fundraising event. His generosity to the RNLI is incredible. We would also like to thank everyone who attended the event and for their support of the RNLI. A huge amount of work went into making this event a success and that is largely due to the wonderful committee of the Portrush and Portstewart RNLI fundraising branch.’

‘The RNLI is a charity funded almost entirely on donations. Every donation we have received today will help to save lives at sea. We wish Graeme all the best in the Open and hope to seem him lifting the Claret Jug on the 18th green at Royal Portrush.’


RNLI media contacts
For information please contact Judy Nelson Portrush RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer Tel: 077 36923936 email: or Phoebe Igoe RNLI Media Engagement Placement Tel: 00 353 87 397 9970 email:

Niamh Stephenson RNLI Public Relations Manager on 00 353 87 1254 124 email or Nuala McAloon RNLI Press Officer Tel: 00 353 87 6483547 email

Portrush Golfer Graeme McDowell with Coxswain, lifeboat crew and beach lifeguards

RNLI/Judy Nelson

Portrush Golfer Graeme McDowell with Coxswain, lifeboat crew and beach lifeguards
The Claret Jug onboard Portrush RNLI lifeboat


The Claret Jug onboard Portrush RNLI lifeboat

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 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.

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