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

Lifeboats News Release

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


Portrush RNLI Shop Manager John Martin

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.

John Martin is the chair of the Portrush RNLI Fundraising Branch and the Shop Manager.

‘I moved to Portrush in 2014 and in 2015, I called into the shop and asked if they needed a hand, and I started the next day. Having worked in the emergency services all my life, it seemed like a natural next step to volunteer in this way. After a couple of years, I got involved in the fundraising branch where I have been the chair for the last two years and I became shop manager last August.’

As for what he finds most rewarding about being involved, John says: ‘For me it is when the lifeboat goes out on a call out and you see that the volunteer crew have the best of training, kit and equipment to do what they need to do. 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.’

John 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.