Donaghadee RNLI's Lifeboat Day attracts visitors to see station and lifeboat

Lifeboats News Release

On Saturday (18 June) Donaghadee RNLI Lifeboat Station held its annual Open Day.

Alan Couser, Donaghadee Lifeboat Chairman. John Ashwood, Second Coxswain Donaghadee Lifeboat. Alliance Councillor Karen Douglas, Mayor of Ards & North Down. John McAuley, Donaghadee Lifeboat President. Quinn Whyte, Lifeboat Supporter & Fundraiser. Evelyn Bennett, Chairperson of Donaghadee Lifeboat Fundraising Team. Brian McLawrence, Donaghadee Lifeboat Operations Manager.

RNLI/Margaret Ramm

The charity's annual lifeboat day saw the general public have access to Donaghadee RNLI's all-weather lifeboat Saxon where they were greeted by volunteer crew members and given a tour of the boat. There were record numbers queuing right around the lighthouse for the whole day.

The harbour itself was busy with stalls, games and food outlets and the lifeboat shop was busy all day.

The lifeboat station was also open and welcomed many visitors throughout the day, with tea and coffee, sandwiches and buns, all supplied by volunteer crew members, partners and family.

Visitors throughout the day included Lady Mayor Karen Douglas who joined in the morning for a tour of the station and also the lifeboat. She was joined by one of the station's most avid supporters, six-year-old Quinn Whyte.

Quinn is passionate about the RNLI and lifeboats, he visits them all over the country and has his bedroomed decorated in lots of memorabilia. He started to support Donaghadee RNLI's Bettys 5p Pots campaign earlier in the year – you fill a small jam jar with 5p’s and donate them at the lifeboat shop. So far this year he has collected a massive 87 pots – each one holds around £2.25 – so that’s quite an achievement. The volunteer team were delighted to show him around the station and the lifeboat as a treat, and fully expect to see him joining the crew in the future.

The station also had a visit from Mrs Helen Winter and her son Patrick, who made a very generous donation in memory of Helen's late husband Harold Winter who was a passionate fundraiser for the RNLI during his lifetime. Patrick himself is an avid sailor and fully appreciates the requirement for and the service of the RNLI.

The day finished off with a display by the lifeboat and her crew, volunteer Rebecca McCarthy used her Stand Up Paddle Board to paddle into the harbour and demonstrate how to attract attention if you are in difficulty and also the importance of carrying a flare, and a means of communication.

The lifeboat came alongside Rebecca and another crew member Nicola Butler, jumped into the water in full RNLI PPE to demonstrate the use of the A Frame which is required to get casualties out of the water.

Everyone watching appeared to enjoy the display and congratulated the crew with a warm round of applause.

Evelyn Bennett, Donaghadee Fundraising Team Chairperson, commented: ‘Everyone at our station, crew and fundraisers, are over the moon at how our open day went, especially given that this was our first since 2019. The support we get from the public is what enables our volunteer crew to go to sea and save lives. We rely on donations and legacies and we are delighted to say that this years lifeboat day has raised in excess of £2,400 with some monies still to come in, this sum is takings from the entry to the lifeboat, stallholders and the collection buckets on the day. Our lifeboat shop and stall on the harbour was certainly kept busy raising in excess of £1,100 – a truly successful and thoroughly enjoyable day all round. We cannot thank the everyone enough for coming along and enjoying the day with us and look forward to next year!’


Alliance Councillor and Mayor Karen Douglas with Quinn Whyte inside RNLI Lifeboat Saxon

RNLI/Margaret Ramm

Quinn Whyte with Second Coxswain John Ashwood, trying on an RNLI Lifejacket.

RNLI/Margaret Ramm

Alan Couser, Lifeboat Chairman with Evelyn Bennett, Fundraising Chairperson, Mrs Helen Winter and Mr Patrick Winter, who donated in memory of Mr Harold Winter, inside the Lifeboat Station.

RNLI/Margaret Ramm

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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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.