Donate now

Local Athlete does the May Day Miles for Portrush RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Springwell Running Club member and long-time supporter of Portrush RNLI, David McGaffin is taking the RNLI May Day Mile Challenge to a whole new level to raise funds for the station

RNLI/Judy Nelson

David McGaffin (runner) with Beni McAllister (LOM)

Springwell Running Club member and long-time supporter of Portrush RNLI, David McGaffin is taking the RNLI May Day Mile Challenge to a whole new level to raise funds for the station.

The McGaffin family has a long association with Portrush Lifeboat. David’s late father Tom was an integral part of the fabric and indeed was one of the crew on the famous shout in 1989 when the lifeboat was launched to reports of two Spanish trawlers in difficulty.

David tells his story and why he is setting himself this gruelling challenge;-

‘The first marathon I took part in was Belfast on the 6th May 1985 and was in aid of the RNLI. There was a lot of blistering, some bleeding and an amount of distress so the fact that the race is always held on Mayday, which is also an international distress signal, is not lost on me.

Growing up in Portrush, especially if you fish and mess about in boats, you are very aware of the work that the RNLI does and the amount of money that it takes to keep the service operating. My father, Tom who was a RNLI member for many years, initially as a Shoreline member, then lifeboat crew and latterly as the deputy launch authority, spent many years fundraising for the RNLI and was one of the founder members of the Portrush Raft Race.

The RNLI, especially the boat crews can be a self-deprecating bunch, and do not take praise well. To them it’s just a job they do, and once a mission is over, they get ready for the next one. I have been fortunate to know many crew members, including some who served on the Portrush Lifeboat in the 1960’s. I have been on boats running for the cover of the harbour in bad weather as the lifeboat launches to someone in distress, and have stood safely on the harbour wall watching the lifeboat head out into the worst weather that the North Atlantic can deliver. What I do know about the RNLI is that they are ordinary people doing extraordinary things and deserving of all the medals, commendations and plaudits they receive.

In the absence of the Raft Race I will be taking part in the RNLI Mayday! Mayday! Challenge, but taking it just a bit further. The challenge is simple, set an exercise goal, raise some sponsorship and then complete it. Those of you that know me will know that it’s not going to be that straight forward, there’s no point doing easy if you’re asking for money. I know that you expect some degree of pain, suffering and sacrifice to part you from your hard earned cash, and to that end I will be running the date each day. That’s one mile on the first, two on the second, three on the third and so on. To save you from doing the maths the first week is handy enough, week two is alright, it’s tougher going in week three, week four is insane and the last three days just mad. To complete this challenge I will have to run more miles in a month than I have ever done before and week four will be the most miles I will have ever run in a week.

If you don’t already follow the Portrush RNLI Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter account then please do so as we hope to inform, educate and entertain you along the way’

Judy Nelson; Volunteer Lifeboat press Officer for Portrush RNLI said:

‘Our fundraising activities have been severely curtailed due to the pandemic, but our crews are still on standby, still training all be it under new Covid guidelines. Crews have been busier than ever because people are staycationing and taking advantage of our fabulous beaches. To have someone like David who is not only running to raise funds but also raising awareness of the work our volunteers do is fantastic- we wish him all the best.’

If you want to donate to David and the station you can do so via the JustGiving link

The Crew, Operations and Fundraising teams, will be supporting David every step of the way and wish him every success!!


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.