New shop volunteers needed to help save lives at sea at Donaghadee RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI is looking for new shop volunteers to join its lifesaving team at Donaghadee RNLI.


Donaghadee Shop Manager Alma Mason

Just like the charity’s lifeboats, the RNLI’s retail team need a dedicated volunteer crew -people of all ages and abilities - who can give a little time to help save lives at sea.

Alma Mason has been the Shop Manager at Donaghadee RNLI since April last year and along with her team of volunteers, she works to ensure the shop on the seafront is open daily from 1-4pm.

‘I was always aware of the importance of the RNLI’s lifesaving work as I was a Stena Line purser on the Dublin to Liverpool ferry route for 12 years,’ Alma explains. ‘Living in Donaghadee, I also knew most of the volunteer lifeboat crew. When I saw the advertisement last year for a shop manager, I knew I had some time to give and I applied for the role.’

As for what she finds most rewarding about being involved, Alma says: ‘What I have learned so much more about since volunteering is the difference the funds raised through the shop can make. It is rewarding to know that in some small way by giving your time you have helped to raise the vital funds to help save lives at sea and that when you see the lifeboat launching, you know the volunteer crew are going out with the best of training, kit and equipment to do what they need to do.

Alma is encouraging others to get involved: ‘You can gain some invaluable skills and training whilst volunteering at a shop and can become part of an incredible team.

‘If you enjoy meeting and interacting with people, are confident in handling money, it really is a role you will love.’

RNLI shops started out as simple cake stalls run by volunteers to raise money for their local lifeboat station.

‘These stalls started selling commemorative RNLI products in around 1920 and quickly moved on to selling souvenirs and Christmas cards with all profits helping save lives at sea,’ Nuala Muldoon, RNLI Community Manager explained.

‘Today, we have over 170 RNLI shops around the coast and inland, all of which are still run by our dedicated volunteers. They attract many visitors throughout the year and stock an excellent range of unique souvenirs and gifts.

‘The pandemic unfortunately hit our shops hard as they closed for periods of time in line with Covid-19 restrictions. We were delighted when we could reopen them safely in accordance with government guidance and are looking forward to welcoming our visitors in 2022. To do this successfully, we want to grow our team of shop volunteers and are looking for people who enjoy interacting with others, can help us to provide a high level of customer service and ensure our shops continue to be friendly and welcoming places.’

To find out more about how you can help generate vital funds, promote the work of the RNLI, and apply, go to


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.