Lough Ree RNLI volunteer spends first Christmas on call

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI is recognising the volunteers who keep the charity afloat through volunteering this Christmas and Brian Connell, who lives in Killinure, Glasson, is one such person, as he spends his first Christmas on call.

Lough Ree RNLI Deputy Launching Authority Brian Connell

RNLI/Lough Ree

Lough Ree RNLI Deputy Launching Authority Brian Connell

Brian is a launch authority with the station and has an unusual method of responding to a lifeboat launch alert. Once the pager goes off, Brian takes his own boat across the lake, arriving at the station in six minutes, as opposed to the half hour it would take by road.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is launching its Christmas appeal at RNLI.org/Xmas, as the charity asks for help to continue its lifesaving work on the water. With over a thousand lifeboat volunteers around Ireland, each RNLI crew member signs up to save everyone from drowning – it has been the charity’s mission since 1824.

Brian also has a very personal reason for signing up to be a volunteer with the RNLI. A few years ago, Lough Ree RNLI lifeboat crew responded to a callout for Brian’s uncle, John Connell, who was living on Inchbofin island and was in poor health. The lifeboat crew provided casualty care and made him comfortable while the Air Ambulance transported him from the island by helicopter. In seeing how the lifeboat crew handled the callout and hearing from his uncle how much it meant to him that they came out to the island and provided care, Brian volunteered for the lifeboat station and became a Launch Authority at the station.

This Christmas, many will leave their loved ones behind to answer the call, each time hoping to reunite another family, and see those in trouble on the water, safely returned. Over the past five years, RNLI lifeboats have launched 55 times during the festive period, bringing 44 people to safety. 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.

In supporting the appeal, Lough Ree RNLI volunteer Brian Connell said, ‘Even at Christmas, our lifesavers are 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, but we know that every time our crews go out, they hope for a good outcome. There’s no feeling quite like bringing someone home safe to their families.

‘I have a personal reason for volunteering with the RNLI and I know my uncle John would be proud of me for doing it. As lifeboat volunteers we couldn’t rescue people without kind donations from the public which fund the kit, training and equipment we need to save others and get home safely to our families.’

The RNLI is launching its Christmas appeal, as the charity asks for help to continue its lifesaving work on the water. To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal visit: RNLI.org/Xmas

RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone Tom McGuire, Lough Ree RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 0872470245 or email [email protected] or contact Nuala McAloon, Regional Media Officer on 0876483547 or [email protected] or Niamh Stephenson, Regional Media Manager on 0871254124 or [email protected]

Lough Ree RNLI Launch Authority Brian Connell

RNLI/Lough Ree

Lough Ree RNLI Launch Authority Brian Connell
John Connell

RNLI/Lough Ree

John Connell

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.

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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.

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