Lough Derg RNLI volunteers thank Assessor Trainer of almost 20 years
Helena Duggan, an RNLI Assessor Trainer who has delivered training and assessments at Lough Derg RNLI for almost 20 years was treated to a surprise leaving party by station volunteers this week.
On Wednesday (14 December) Helena Duggan and her fellow Assessor Trainer Seán Ginnelly came to Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat station as part of a scheduled training session; Helena to give a class and provide assessments for the Deputy Launching Authority volunteers and Seán to assess crew on their latest theory modules. As this was Helena’s final teaching session with Lough Derg RNLI before she leaves to become the Assessor/Trainer for another group of RNLI stations in the Irish region, volunteers arranged a surprise leaving party in her honour.
Helena has taught and assessed volunteers at Lough Derg RNLI from 2003, a year of intensive preparation before the new station (the second only inland station in Ireland at that time) went live for service on 24 May 2004, through to 14 December 2022.
As the classroom session came to a close, RNLI volunteers arrived with homemade cakes and scones. Helena was presented with two especially commissioned pieces of art; a 3D woodcut of Lough Derg by artist Henri Bocxe, and a ceramic sculpture by artist Annemarie Mullan.
Christine O’Malley, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Lough Derg RNLI thanked Helena for her ‘years of teaching and preparing volunteers, for your wisdom and advice, your stories and laughter’. Helm Owen Cavanagh said he was ‘sad to be saying goodbye’ and gave his and the crew’s warmest thanks for her ‘years of friendship and teaching’.
The only remaining crew from the 2003 intake, Eleanor Hooker, volunteer helm and Lifeboat Press Officer shared memories of how Helena prepared her and other volunteers for their roles ahead with great patience and commitment.
‘As was mentioned at the party, Helena is an inspirational character, she sets a standard to which all of us aspire, but as she said last evening, she is still around and will be there for any of us should we need to chat. Seán Ginnelly is the new RNLI Assessor Trainer for the station and it was wonderful to see the comfortable and immediate rapport with him and all at Lough Derg RNLI.’
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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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