Youghal RNLI family appeal for support this Christmas for charity
A father and son from Youghal RNLI are asking people in East Cork to support the charity’s annual Christmas appeal after volunteers faced an unprecedented year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The RNLI has seen a drop in income in 2020 as traditional fundraising activities had to be cancelled. This was despite the lifesaving charity having to spend extra funds to ensure its volunteer lifeboat crews including those at Youghal and Ballycotton RNLI, had the vital PPE, such as face masks and gloves to keep their lifesavers safe.
Yet, during an extraordinary year and while facing new challenges in saving lives at sea, lifeboat crews wearing additional PPE and adapting to restrictions, continued to respond to the pager and work tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep people safe.
As lockdown restrictions eased and between the months of July to October, lifeboats at Ireland’s 46 stations, launched 512 times with their crews bringing 793 people to safety. The statistics reflect an increase of 33 more launches and 164 more people aided, on the same four-month period last year.
Mark Nolan has been a volunteer at Youghal RNLI for 23 years, first as a crew member on the station’s inshore lifeboat where he served for 13 years, before moving to shore crew and more recently in 2017, to becoming a Deputy Launching Authority where among his tasks in this role, he authorises the launch of the station’s lifeboat when the alarm is raised. Mark’s son Jack, 22, followed in his father’s footsteps five years ago when he too joined the lifesaving team in Youghal. Both Mark and Jack know all too well how important it is for crews to have the right lifesaving kit and PPE.
‘You worry when the pager beeps and you are responsible for authorising the launch of the lifeboat,’ Mark said. ‘While Jack is my son, I would have similar concerns for all crew members who go out on the lifeboat to save others who are in trouble at sea. There is always a sense of relief when they help to bring those in difficulty back to safety but also when they return home safely themselves.’
Jack was always destined to join the lifesaving crew at Youghal RNLI having grown up watching his father drop everything when the pager sounded. As soon as he reached the age of 17 and was eligible, he signed up to become a crew member.
Both Mark and Jack are well used to family events being interrupted by the pager.
And this Christmas will be no different for the Nolan’s. They and the wider family will be prepared for Mark and Jack to rush out the door at the sound of their pagers, even if it is during the Christmas dinner.
‘It can be difficult for our families when the pager goes, Mark added. ‘We know they worry about what we might go through when we are involved in a shout. At Christmas time, they know that we might have to drop everything like the other volunteers in Youghal and run out the door to go and save someone’s life. However, they also know how important the RNLI is and what our roles entail. They also know how rewarding it is for Jack and myself to make our contribution. The RNLI depends on the goodwill of others to support the work our volunteer crews do and that is why as a family, we would urge people if they can, to give to the Christmas Appeal.’
Jack added to his father’s plea and said a donation to the charity would make a great difference: ‘RNLI volunteers have had a challenging year but thankfully, with many additional safety measures and procedures in place to ensure our safety, we have remained on call 24/7 throughout the pandemic. We have our standard PPE but now also wear masks and gloves and take extra precautions at sea. We know the extra PPE comes at a financial cost to the charity and during a time when fundraising activity has had to be halted.
‘The best Christmas gift RNLI volunteers like us can wish for, is any kind of donation no matter how small to our Christmas appeal. Funds raised will provide the lifesaving kit we so need to help save lives at sea.’
As a charity, the RNLI relies on the support of the public to continue saving lives – and that support is needed now more than ever. To support, visit: RNLI.org/Xmas
Youghal RNLI Deputy Launching Authority Mark Nolan pictured with his son Jack who is a lifeboat crew member.
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.