Dun Laoghaire RNLI crew member named Christine Buckley Volunteer of the Year
Dun Laoghaire RNLI crew member Gary Hayes has been named the Christine Buckley Volunteer of the Year. Gary picked up the overall honour at the Volunteer Ireland Awards ceremony in Limerick on Saturday night.
Gary was nominated by a fellow crew member for his work with both Dun Laoghaire RNLI and Dalkey First Responders.
The Volunteer Ireland awards are the annual initiative to celebrate volunteers in Ireland. The awards shine a light on the remarkable achievements of volunteers around the country by honouring them at a national level. Every year one truly exceptional volunteer is named Christine Buckley Volunteer of the Year in her memory.
A helm and inshore lifeboat mechanic at Dun Laoghaire RNLI, Gary has been a volunteer at the station for 21 years while he has been a volunteer with Dalkey First Responders for nine years.
Gary’s nomination described the crucial role he played in saving lives at sea:
‘As a helm, Gary operates the lifeboat during dangerous rescue missions, navigating through challenging conditions to reach those in distress. His skills and experience are essential in ensuring the safe and effective execution of rescues. Gary's commitment and dedication have undoubtedly resulted in countless lives being saved and families being reunited. Additionally, Gary's role as a Community First Responder demonstrates his commitment to the welfare of his local community. Community first responders are trained volunteers who provide immediate care to those suffering from medical emergencies before professional help arrives. Gary's willingness to step up in times of crisis and offer his medical expertise helps to bridge the gap between an incident occurring and the arrival of emergency medical services. By providing prompt medical
attention, Gary significantly increases the chances of positive outcomes for those in need.
‘Furthermore, Gary’s volunteer work directly contributes to building a safer and more resilient community. His involvement in both the RNLI and as a Community First Responder helps raise awareness about water safety and emergency preparedness. By sharing his experiences and knowledge with others, Gary inspires individuals to become more vigilant around water and encourages them to consider volunteering themselves. This multiplier effect further strengthens the community’s ability to respond swiftly and effectively to emergencies.’
Speaking on being nominated and shortlisted in his own Safety and Emergencies category, and then being named the overall winner on the night, Gary said:
‘To be nominated for one was a shock. It was a real privilege to be nominated and shortlisted among everyone else who was there on the night and I was definitely not expecting to be announced as the overall winner, everyone else was more than deserving so it was big surprise.’
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
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries