RNLI launches Mayday for funds in Ireland with rescued Cork man
The RNLI is launching its Mayday Mile fundraiser today (Tuesday 27 April) as the charity’s rescue figures for 2020 show that over half (53%) of its 945 lifeboat launches took place in the months of June, July and August.
Cork man Peter Connon, who last Easter Monday was rescued by the RNLI, along with four young members of his family, when their two sailing crafts capsized in a squall off the coast, is urging people to sign up online to do the Mayday Mile which will raise funds for the lifeboat charity.
Last year, with the country dealing with restrictions put in place to fight the pandemic, lifeboat crews were still busy, bringing 1,145 people to safety. Thirteen of those people were classified as lives saved by the RNLI, meaning that without the actions of the lifeboat crew, they would not have survived. Most of those lives saved, 10 in total, happened over the summer period and lifeboat crews are expecting an even busier summer this year with people staying home and holidaying in Ireland. Last summer 747 people were aided by volunteer lifeboat crews during the summer months, an increase of 13% on the previous year’s callouts.
The RNLI’s Mayday campaign begins on Saturday 1 May and runs throughout the month. Lifesavers are calling on supporters to join the Mayday Mile and cover the distance for the charity in any way they chose to raise vital funds to help lifeboat crews continue their work. Sign up at RNLI.org/SupportMayday
Peter Connon, a keen sailor, was out with four young members of his family when they encountered a squall that resulted in one of their craft capsizing. In trying to aid the group the second craft also capsized and with the weather worsening they were unable to right the vessels. Their mobile phones were rendered useless, but they managed to set off a personal locator beacon and kept calm until help arrived. Members of the group had attended sailing courses in the past and thankfully knew what to do in an emergency. Their equipment and quick thinking kept them safe until the RNLI lifeboat crew were able to rescue them.
Commenting on why he is supporting Mayday and doing his own Mayday Mile walk on the Youghal boardwalk when it opens, Peter spoke about the day he was rescued, ‘That day we took every precaution, but the weather turned, and we quickly found ourselves in serious trouble. We didn’t hesitate to raise the alarm and our equipment and knowledge kept us safe until help arrived. I can’t describe the feeling of joy when you see those big orange lifeboats come into view. I’m a big man but we were scooped into that lifeboat like we weighed nothing. They were so professional and reassured us that we had done everything right. My family are so grateful to Youghal and Ballycotton RNLI and to the paramedics and Coast Guard crews who attended to us that day. What might have happened only hit me much later. I’m doing the Mayday Mile fundraiser to thank the RNLI and hopefully by sharing my story other people will know that anyone can get into difficulty and it’s important to have a means of calling for help.’
Figures released by the RNLI for Ireland last year (which includes all 46 lifeboat stations on the island) show that lifeboats are launching to a range of activities. Twenty-two lifeboat callouts were to swimmers in difficulty, another 22 were to kayakers and canoeists, while 20 launches were for anglers, 15 were to jet-ski related incidents and there were 26 launches to people who were walking or running near the coast.
Owen Medland, RNLI Lifesaving Lead said: ‘As another summer approaches, we know that our lifesavers face challenges in keeping everyone safe, which is why we’re now the ones sending out our own Mayday call and asking for help. Our lifeboat crews have been operational throughout the pandemic and have had to operate in a different way and wearing PPE. Our annual Mayday fundraising campaign, which looks a little different this year, is launching on Saturday 1 May and running for the month. This year, the charity will be calling on supporters to join the Mayday Mile and undertake to cover a distance in any way they like in order to raise vital funds. It can be a mile, a 5km or a few laps of your estate. You can do it in runners or wearing lifeboat wellies. It can be serious or a fun activity for the family.’
To sign up for the Mayday Mile, or to make a donation in support of the RNLI’s lifesavers, visit RNLI.org/supportMayday
*Summer refers to the period of 1st June – 31st August 2020
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Niamh Stephenson, RNLI Regional Media Manager Tel: 00353 87 1254 124 email: Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org.uk or
Nuala McAloon, RNLI Regional Media Officer Tel: 00353 87 648 3547 email: Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org.uk
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.