Marathon effort see vital funds raised for Larne RNLI and the charity that saves
Two Larne runners, one of whom is a Coxswain at Larne RNLI, have been recognised for their fundraising efforts after taking part in this year’s Antrim Coast Half Marathon to raise funds for the charity that saves lives at sea.
Barry Kirkpatrick, Larne RNLI Deputy Coxswain and Thomas Greer, ran the half marathon on Sunday 28 August to raise funds for Larne RNLI.
To thank both runners, race organiser James Mcilroy along with RNLI Community Manager Nuala Muldoon arranged for some of the elite runners to sign a commemorative shirt, to recognise their achievement.
Barry was running to raise funds for the RNLI in memory of former Larne RNLI crew member Norman Surplus: ‘Training for the event was every bit as challenging as completing the half marathon. Raising funds in memory of Norman really pushed me on and gave me a goal to focus on.”
‘With the donations and money raised the lifeboat station is going to install a defibrillator which will be accessible to the volunteers and members of the public for anyone to use in case of an emergency.’
Thomas had already ran the Belfast Marathon in May 2022 raising funds for Enniskillen RNLI after they came to his aid in August of 2019: “My son Lewis, nephew Justin, my mother-in-law Jackie and my wife’s cousin’s fiancé, Carolyn and I were out on Lough Erne on a small boat we had rented. As we were coming across the Lough the wind and waves were picking up and getting quite strong and then we ran out of fuel. I raised the alarm and the RNLI sprang into action straight away. I was contacted shortly after my call to try and pinpoint my location on the lough and the inshore lifeboat with four volunteers onboard came to my aid. Within 45 minutes they had travelled the entire length of the lough and found us. With the poor conditions we had been swept down the Lough a mile already. The crew came alongside our boat and made sure we were all safe and well before towing us back to Mullan’s Bay, constantly reassuring us and making sure we were alright before they returned to station.”
‘We were so grateful for the assistance provided. I offered to make a donation but the crew refused at the time so I decided that I would do a fundraiser for them which led me to train for the marathon and raise the funds to help the Enniskillen crew build their new station. Since then I have been very keen to raise funds for the RNLI any way I can, so when the Antrim Coast Half Marathon came up, I knew I had to run and help raise funds for the local station in Larne. I’ve seen the good work the RNLI does in person, so I want to try and help out in anyway I can.’
Speaking of the Barry and Thomas’s fundraising efforts, RNLI Community Manager Nuala Muldoon said: ‘The RNLI is so grateful to Barry and Thomas for thinking of the charity in this way and for taking such effort to raised funds that will benefit and power the lifesaving work of two of our lifeboat stations in Northern Ireland. Every penny they raise makes a difference. It helps the charity to recruit and train volunteers and could fund the kit they need to protect themselves. It helps ensure a lifeboat is ready when the call comes and it enables our safety advice to reach as many people as possible so they can stay safe by the water.’
Meanwhile, Larne RNLI’s fundraising branch will be on Larne main street this Saturday 26 November, collecting as part of the flag day for the RNLI. Members of the public if they so wish can contribute by dropping some change into the collection buckets on the day.
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
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