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John Sillery retires from Wicklow RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

John Sillery, the long serving Head Launcher at Wicklow Lifeboat Station has retired after 34 years dedicated service to the RNLI.

John Sillery with his wife Maria and family

RNLI/Tommy Dover

John Sillery with his wife Maria and family

John joined the RNLI on New Year’s Day 1989 as a volunteer winch operator. He was appointed head launcher at Wicklow and took charge on the slip of all launching and recovery activities for the all-weather Tyne class lifeboat RNLB Annie Blaker.

In lifeboat history, John will be remembered for launching the last operation Tyne Class slipway lifeboat in the RNLI fleet, at 1:30pm on Sunday 28 April 2019 to the sound of loud applause, John Sillery, struck the pin which released the Annie Blaker down the slipway and into the water for the final time, ending an era that spanned over three decades at Wicklow and signalling the retirement of the last Tyne class lifeboat from the RNLI fleet.

2019 saw the arrival of the new Shannon class lifeboat at Wicklow and the same year John Sillery received his Long Service Award from the RNLI. This was in recognition for his commitment and dedication to the charity that saves lives at sea.

With the arrival of the new Shannon class lifeboat, John was responsible for launching and recovering operations at the South Quay berth.

To mark John’s retirement, family, friends and lifeboat crew gathered at the Wicklow Golf Club to celebrate his long service as a volunteer

Wicklow RNLI Operation’s Manager, Mary Aldridge paid tribute to John’s commitment over the past 34 years. Flowers were also presented to Maria Sillery, John’s wife, a token to say thank you for supporting John and sharing him with us over the years. Coxswain Nick Keogh also presented John with a specially commissioned lamp in the shape of a lighthouse, a gift from the crew to say thank you.

We are indebted to John for his service at Wicklow RNLI. Since 1989 he has launched the lifeboat countless times that resulted in the saving of many lives along the Wicklow coast.

Second Coxswain Ciaran Doyle best described John during a speech on the night saying “John Sillery was Solid as a rock; he was always the first person to arrive at the station during a shout ready to launch the lifeboat. Thank you for the years.”

RNLI/ Patrick Browne

John Sillery at the last launch of Annie Blaker

RNLI/ Nigel Millard

John Sillery (file photo)

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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