Fethard RNLI mark 25 years of saving lives with emotional ceremony at sea
Fethard RNLI commemorated an important anniversary on Saturday (10 July 2021).
It was 25 years to the exact day (10 July 1996) that the RNLI re-established a lifeboat station at Fethard-On-Sea, following an absence of 82 years. The milestone was marked by a solemn ceremony at sea, where current lifeboat crew laid a wreath to remember all those involved with the station, who had passed away over the last 25 years.
The anniversary was originally to involve a large-scale exercise at sea, viewed by the public from Baginbun beach and involving Fethard RNLI, Kilmore Quay RNLI, Dunmore East RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard. Unfortunately, the display was postponed due to the ongoing restrictions for Covid and it is now planned to take place on Sunday the 12 September.
Fethard RNLI has a rich history in the Institution. A previous RNLI lifeboat based in Fethard, called the Helen Blake was lost along with nine of her 14 crew on 20 February 1914. The station was then closed, and it was not known if a lifeboat would ever again be on service in the area. However, the local community came together years later to raise the funds needed to establish a new station. After a lot of hard work and determination, their dream of having a Lifeboat was realised.
That same community spirit was also present in 2016 when the community funded the station’s current lifeboat the Naomh Dubhan.
Commenting on the 25th anniversary, Fethard RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Walter Foley said: ‘All of us involved with Fethard RNLI would like to sincerely thank our wonderful community who have supported this lifeboat station for the past 25 years. There are so many people involved with our station and we appreciate every one of them and the work they do.
‘Having a lifeboat station re-established after suffering such a loss as we did in 1914 is an incredible achievement. In the intervening years our community decided they wanted their lifeboat back and campaigned and raised the funds necessary to return one to the area. There is a special bond between Fethard RNLI, and its community and it is the reason why we are still going strong today.’
An official event to mark the 25th anniversary of the reopening of Fethard RNLI is due to take place on Baginbun beach on Sunday 12 September. Further details will be available nearer the date.
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.