First Christmas on call for Helvick Head RNLI’s volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer

As another Christmas draws near for RNLI volunteers in Waterford who are on call to respond to emergencies off the coast 24 hours a day and 365 days in the year, they know that this Christmas Day will be no different to any other. 

Aoife Duffy
Aoife Duffy

Now, as the charity launches its Christmas Appeal, lifeboat crews at Dunmore East and Helvick Head, are urging the public to help them and their fellow crews continue their lifesaving work at sea. 

For Aoife Duffy, Helvick Head RNLI’s Lifeboat Press Officer, this will be her first Christmas on call. While not a sea going volunteer, Aoife has an important role to communicate the activity of the lifeboat station and publicise rescues to raise awareness and inspire the public. It is a sophisticated role, that operates in real-time and in a 24/7 news environment. As well as informing the station’s local newspapers and radio stations of what is happening, she must embrace social media, content management systems, video editing and prepare her fellow volunteers for interview. It is a new role for Aoife but one she is relishing.

‘I am originally from Clonmel in Tipperary and I moved to the area in September last year. Not knowing anyone when I arrived, I have found that since joining the RNLI, it has been a great way to get to know people and to integrate into the community. A lot of my family are involved in sailing and while thankfully they have never had to call on the RNLI, we have always been so aware of the invaluable service it provides.’

Like volunteers around Ireland and the UK, Aoife is one of many who signs up to save every one from drowning – it has been the charity’s mission since 1824. 

This Christmas, Aoife will be prepared to support her lifeboat crew as they leave their loved ones behind to answer the call, each time hoping to reunite another family, and see those in trouble at sea safely returned. Over the past decade, RNLI lifeboats have launched over 1,200 times during the festive period.

But these rescues would not be possible without donations from the RNLI’s generous supporters, helping to fund the essential kit, training and equipment needed by lifeboat crews all year round. 

‘This is my first Christmas as a volunteer with the RNLI and I am ready to assist immediately if I’m needed,’ Aoife continues. ‘I know there will be thousands of volunteers like those at Helvick Head and Dunmore East wearing pagers and ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice and rush to the aid of someone in trouble on the water. At this time of year, the weather is at its worst and lives are on the line.

‘I know that every time our crews go out to sea, they hope for a good outcome, but sadly this sometimes isn’t the case. We hope that this year’s Christmas appeal will show people just how tough it can be, but also that with their help we can get so much closer to our goal of saving every one.’ 

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

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RNLI media contacts 
For more information please contact Nuala McAloon, RNLI Regional Media Officer on 00353 87 648 3547 or email [email protected] or Niamh Stephenson, RNLI Regional Media Manager on 00353 87 1254 124 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.