Port St Mary RNLI celebrates the importance of family this Christmas
At a time of reflection, the RNLI is highlighting the generations of families who help to keep the RNLI afloat through their volunteering and fundraising.
The Isle of Man is at the centre of this, being the place where Sir William Hilary established the RNLI back in 1824, and therefore its roots run deep through Manx families who have sacrificed precious time together in order to continue Saving Lives on the Irish Sea.
Port St Mary RNLI has its very own example of this in the Keggen family. A name well known due to their local businesses, including scuba diving holidays, building & construction as well as being the local funeral director. The family are not only on-call 24/7 for their job, but also as volunteers for Port St Mary RNLI.
Starting back on the 6th May 1974 when father Michael joined Port St Mary lifeboat, as someone keen in boats due to his love of scuba diving, he wished to get involved in the RNLI and help to give something back. Over the years Michael has worked his way through the training, learning what was required to be crew, to be a navigator and a mechanic. Michael is now the 1st Coxswain on the all-weather lifeboat Gough Ritchie 2, dedicating 46 years of service to the RNLI so far.
Michael’s dedication and passion for the RNLI was clearly something which he passed on to his children, as in 1999 his daughter Sarah, became the first lady crew member at Port St Mary. After being crew for six years, Sarah moved on to become Deputy Launch Authority in 2017 and is now the Lifeboat Operations Manager of Port St Mary Lifeboat since 2019. A role well suited to someone who has spent time as a crew member and appreciates the challenges the crew face.
Sarah’s younger brother Thomas also followed in the family footsteps by joining Port St Mary crew in 2007. Thomas focused on the D-Class inshore lifeboat and became a helm. He was on the crew for 10 years and stepped down in 2017.
In total the Keggen family have dedicated over 65 years' service to Port St Mary RNLI, and have given up time together to brave the Irish Sea in all-weather to help save lives at sea.
'The RNLI is in my family and I’m proud that my children have carried on the family tradition. As a volunteer at Port St Mary RNLI the best Christmas gift I can wish for is a kind donation to our Christmas appeal. The funds raised will provide the lifesaving kit I need to keep me and my crew safe.'
Sarah goes on to say:
'It’s been a challenging year, but one which reminds us how important family really is. However, we will remain on-call 24/7 over the festive period, ready to respond to the sound of our pagers and leave our celebrations to make sure we are there for anyone who finds themselves in difficulty.'
The RNLI has spent £1.2M this year on PPE to keep crew safe, including almost 700,000 face masks, 2.4 million gloves and 4,700 litres of hand sanitiser. This is money the charity hadn’t budgeted for but needed to be spent to keep its lifesavers and the public protected during the coronavirus pandemic.
The charity has launches it’s Christmas appeal, and we would be delighted if you could give a donation, to help to bring our crews safely back to their families this Christmas. To support please visit: RNLI.org/Xmas
For further information, please contact Kirsty Pendlebury, Launch Authority & Social Media Officer Port St Mary Lifeboat - Isle of Man via e-mail: Kirsty_Pendlebury@rnli.org.uk or mobile: (07624) 438619.
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.