Two volunteer lifeboat crew will spend their first Christmas on call with Aran Islands RNLI as lifesaving charity seeks support

With over 1,500 volunteers around Ireland, each RNLI crew member signs up to save every one from drowning – the charity’s mission since 1824. This Christmas Aran Islands RNLI will have two new volunteer lifeboat crew on call, ready to drop everything and help launch the lifeboat to save those in trouble at sea.

Shane Crawford Aran Islands RNLI Lifeboat crew member wearing crew kit

Photo: RNLI

Shane Crawford

Along with Galway and Clifden lifeboat crews, the crew on the Aran Islands are on call throughout the year. Fisherman and father of five Georgie Gillan, along with NUIG student Shane Crawford are the most recent recruits to join the lifeboat. The two new volunteer lifeboat crew are asking the public to consider supporting the RNLI this Christmas as the charity that saves lives at sea.

Georgie Gillan is an experienced fisherman and a father of five young children. Working on a prawn trawler he has been aware of the work of the RNLI for as long as he can remember. He also fishes off a boat which is owned by a Clogherhead RNLI crewmember. He decided it made sense that he would join the lifeboat crew as a member of the fishing community and for a way to give back to those to his community. The RNLI was delighted to welcome Georgie onboard, with his vast maritime knowledge and experience, he has fit right in on the Inis Mór based crew.

Commenting on his decision to join the lifeboat crew Georgie said, ‘I’ve grown up around the sea and I’ve seen its power and its potential. I’m enjoying the training, and learning a different set of skills, all based around search and rescue and saving others. Being out on the lifeboat, you’re part of a team, the feeling of giving back is a great one. The standard of the kit and the training is so high and the support we get to do this job is amazing. I’m grateful to the people who support the work of the lifeboats and keep them at sea all year round.’

Shane Crawford, a first year Arts student, studying in NUIG Galway, knew from an early age that he would wear a lifeboat pager, as helping others is in his DNA. His mother is the local community Nurse and his father served with the local Fire service for many years. Shane's older brother, Colum is also a member of the Aran Islands RNLI volunteer Lifeboat crew and currently studying to become a paramedic.

Adding his support to the RNLI Christmas Appeal Shane commented, ‘It has been a dream for me to be on the lifeboat crew ever since I was very young. I feel very at home onboard the lifeboat even though I’m still new to it. The communication between the crew when we are out at sea is incredible and you can see the training and commitment of everyone involved. Every piece of kit has a purpose, and the RNLI are always looking to evolve and improve the equipment. It’s maintained to the highest standard and we are aware of the responsibility that comes with that.  When the pagers goes, no lifeboat volunteer hesitates to answer the call, and these rescues would not be possible without the donations from the RNLI's generous supporters, helping to fund the essential kit, training equipment needed by Lifeboat crews all year round. Thank you to everyone who supports the appeal this Christmas.’

To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal visit: RNLI.org/Xmas

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact Lena O’Connell, Aran Islands RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer at 0879337882, email [email protected] or contact Niamh Stephenson, RNLI Regional Media Manager on 00353 871254 124 or [email protected] or Nuala McAloon, RNLI Regional Media Officer on 00353 87 648 3547 or email [email protected]

Georgie Gillan Aran Islands RNLI Lifeboat crew member wearing crew kit

Photo: RNLI

Georgie Gillan

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.