Donate now

Donaghadee RNLI volunteers receive Long Service recognition

Lifeboats News Release

Three Donaghadee RNLI lifeboat volunteer crew members have had their long term service to the institution recognised by the RNLI in the form of long service medals.

RNLI/Margaret Ramm

Philip McNamara, Coxswain. John Petrie, crew member of over 30 years. Michael Field, crew member of over 30 years. Mark Nelson, crew member of over 20 years.

The three crew members have together accrued over 80 years in service to the RNLI and in turn to the community in Donaghadee and its lifesaving heritage.

Crew member Michael Field has been awarded his 30 year long service medal and has been involved in many call outs over the years, all whilst working and raising a family with his wife Dawn. Michael commented: ‘Even after so many years, I still very much enjoy the training exercises and the continual learning. Of course, the comradeship with the other crew over the years has been a big part of the satisfaction I get from being a volunteer. After a particularly difficult shout, of which I have seen many, we are all there to support each other and get ourselves prepared for whatever the next shout may bring.'

Mark Nelson has been awarded his 20 year long service medal as a volunteer crew member. Mark has juggled his career as a chef as well as being a busy family man for many of these years. When asked what he has noticed most about the RNLI in his time he said: ‘The abilities of the lifeboat, technological advances and the equipment we work with has been impressive and continues to change and challenge us all to maintain our training and skills. No two training exercises or call outs are the same, they are always interesting and keep us on our toes!’

Crew member John Petrie has also been awarded his 30 year long service medal and has seen many changes in his time also. John joined at the age of 23 and has volunteered on two of the RNLI lifeboats City of Belfast and the current Saxon. He has also volunteered under three coxswains, Graham McConnell, David Martin and current coxswain Philip McNamara. Reflecting on his time with the lifeboat, John commented on his most memorable call out: ‘On the 20 April 1993, we were called out to the fishing boat Berachah, they had a man overboard 20 miles south of Donaghadee. We searched for five hours in atrocious conditions, 10 metre swells and sometimes more. Definitely a shout that stands out for me.'

Philip McNamara who has been coxswain for 22 years, said of his crew members: ‘The dedication shown by all the crew members at Donaghadee RNLI is remarkable, but to be able to be a volunteer and turn up time and again for training and exercises over such a long period of time is a true measure of their character. They drop everything and leave their families and jobs to go to sea to help someone. I am delighted that Michael, John and Mark have received their long service medals, they are well deserved. I am very proud of the team we have at our station and honoured to work with them. I am sure we will have many more long serving volunteers in the future. A big well done and thank you to Michael, John and Mark and of course all the crew members at the station.’


RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Margaret Ramm, Donaghadee RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07746633365 or [email protected] or Nuala McAloon, Regional Media Officer on 00353 876483547 or [email protected] or Niamh Stephenson, Regional Media Manager on 00353 871254124 or [email protected]

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.