RNLI calls on new volunteers to join its fundraising crew in Waterford
The RNLI is looking for new fundraising volunteers to join its lifesaving crew at its branches in Waterford/Tramore and Dunmore East.
Just like the charity’s lifeboats, the RNLI’s fundraising team need a dedicated volunteer crew. Volunteers are at the heart of the RNLI and make up 95% of its people. They are ordinary people who do extraordinary things and without them, the organisation couldn’t continue to save lives at sea.
But it’s not all about volunteering on lifeboats or at a station, there are many other ways people can give a little or a lot of their time to support the RNLI and make their own lifesaving difference.
Patricia Kennealy is a committee member on the Waterford/Tramore RNLI Fundraising Branch and has been a volunteer for almost 35 years.
‘I love the sea but because we ran a pub, I couldn’t become a lifeguard. When Tramore Cliff Rescue came onboard I popped my head and joined the team there. The Tramore lifeboat station was just up the road so it was almost by osmosis that I went from cliff rescue to the RNLI and I was soon addicted when I felt the engine on the lifeboat and got out on the waves.’
Patricia became a volunteer crew member for Tramore RNLI in 1988 and a few years later progressed to being a helm. When she stepped off the lifeboat at 45, she continued her volunteer journey in fundraising.
‘There were only two others fundraising in Waterford at the time,’ Patricia explains, ‘and we did some bits but the branch that is now known as Waterford/Tramore was set up after that. We are a small committee but we try to run one big event each year.’
Patricia says she enjoys hearing people’s stories when she meets them but that the real reward from fundraising is knowing the difference the proceeds raised can make: ‘I love hearing people’s stories when you are collecting on flag days. You hear how they have been rescued or someone they know has been rescued. You also have that good feel factor when fundraising for the RNLI.
‘When I started as a crew member at Tramore RNLI, I remember there were horsehair mattresses in the D class lifeboat, and we had waders and big chunky lifejackets that you couldn’t move in. The funds raised have enabled an advance in technology. Now, the crew are warm when they go to sea and they are buoyant without feeling trapped in their lifejackets, and there are no horsehair mattresses! Their needs are protected.’
Mary Creedon, RNLI Fundraising Partnership Lead hails the selfless efforts of people like Patricia: ‘Without our volunteers, the RNLI simply would not be able to operate the way it does today. With 92% of the RNLI’s income coming from donations, the charity relies on the generosity of supporters and on the dedication of our fundraising volunteers to help raise essential funds. Thousands of community fundraising volunteers organise a wide range of activities and events each year, contributing their time, energy and skills to raise money to save lives at sea. Some of our fundraisers have been volunteering for many years while some just join us for a few months in the year depending on what their commitments allow.
‘We now really need to bolster that support and grow our volunteer fundraising crew. If you like to have fun, enjoy meeting new people and want to join a motivated and enthusiastic team, we encourage you to find out more and apply. You will learn new skills, gain experience and have the rewarding satisfaction of giving back. The RNLI will also provide all the necessary training and support so you can carry out your chosen role effectively.’
To find out more about how you can sign up to be a fundraising volunteer at the RNLI in Waterford/Tramore or Dunmore East, or to apply, click on this link rnli.org/OneCrewVolunteers
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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