RNLI’s ‘Launch a Memory’ campaign sees Clifden lifeboat honour 10,000 loved ones

Lifeboats News Release

A new all-weather RNLI lifeboat, which will be permanently based at Clifden in Connemara, will proudly carry the names of up to 10,000 people, placed on it by their loved ones.

Lee and Jimmy in lifeboat station in kit

RNLI

Lee and Jimmy in lifeboat station in kit

The Shannon class all-weather lifeboat, which will be built in the RNLI’s All-Weather Lifeboat centre, is the second such lifeboat to be part of the charity’s ‘Launch a Memory’ fundraising campaign and the first to be based in Ireland.

Through the ‘Launch a Memory’ campaign, members of the public and supporters of the charity will be able to commemorate a loved one by making a donation online and submitting that person’s name. The name of each person being remembered will be featured within the lifeboat’s letters (RNLI) and numbers, or decal, displayed on the vessel’s hull in lettering 3-4mm in height. The first Launch a Memory lifeboat is due to go on service in Invergordon, Scotland.

The honour of the first name on the new lifeboat will go to a young lifeboat volunteer, Lee Early (26), from Donegal, who tragically lost his life last year when he was involved in an accident on Arranmore Island. Lee was the Deputy Coxswain at Arranmore RNLI and a Skipper of the local ferry, who loved the sea and the charity that saved lives at sea. In a tribute to him, that charity will put his name as the first one on the new lifeboat, contained in the letters RNLI, alongside others whose loved ones want to commemorate them.

Lee’s father Jimmy Early, Arranmore RNLI lifeboat Coxswain said, ‘I am so proud that my son’s name will be on the Clifden lifeboat that will be stationed off the west coast of Ireland. We live on an island off a larger island and so the sea is in our blood. I am very proud to be a lifeboat Coxswain, and I was so proud of Lee when he followed in my footsteps. He is with us always. Every time we launch the lifeboat, we think of him, and this is a very meaningful way to commemorate him.’

‘I know his name will be joined by thousands of others whose loved ones want them remembered in such a special way. That lifeboat will launch many times in its lifetime and bring many people to safety. I couldn’t think of a better way for someone to be remembered.’

Daniel Curran, RNLI Engagement Lead, said: ‘We are so pleased to be able to bring ‘Launch A Memory’ to Ireland, with a lifeboat that will save lives off our coast for generations. Everyone who supports the campaign will receive email updates about the lifeboat, keeping them informed of all major developments on its journey to going on service and saving lives at sea in Clifden.’

‘RNLI lifeboat crews are busier than ever. The ‘Launch a Memory’ campaign, while a fundraiser for the charity, is also a way for us to say thank you to those people who support the lifeboat service and our volunteer lifeboat crew.’

There are three ways people can get the name of a loved one on the Launch a Memory lifeboat. Donations can be made online at rnli.org/launchamemory by phone on 01-895 1800 (Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm) or alternatively by post to RNLI, Airside, Swords, County Dublin K67 WA24. There is a suggested donation of €30 with space to commemorate up to 10,000 names on the lifeboat.

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RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Niamh Stephenson, RNLI Media Manager Tel: 087 1254 124 or Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org.uk or Nuala McAloon, RNLI Media Officer Tel: 087 648 3547 or email Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org.uk or alternatively Luke Blissett, RNLI National Media Manager, on 00 44 1 202 336789 luke_blissett@rnli.org.uk or pressoffice@rnli.org.uk.

File photo of first Launch a Memory lifeboat

RNLI

File photo of first Launch a Memory 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 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.

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.