Fethard RNLI in search of new volunteers as station prepares to host open day
Fethard RNLI is in search of new people to join its volunteer team in a variety of lifesaving roles.
The station will host an open day over St Patrick’s weekend, from 11am-1pm next Saturday morning (18 March) and want anyone who has an interest in volunteering to come along and find out more.
The station is particularly keen to recruit new volunteer lifeboat, shore crew and enhance its fundraising crew.
Patrick O’Regan has been a crew member for four years having joined in 2019. He says it was his desire to help in the community and give back that encouraged him to get involved: ‘I had always wanted to help out in my local community,’ he says, ‘and to make a difference. The sea and the dangers associated with it have always fascinated me Joining the RNLI gave me the opportunity to help save lives at sea.’
All crew members on joining receive full competency based training: ‘I have found training to be invaluable, Patrick adds, ‘and an exciting way to learn new skills such as first aid and boat handling in an environment where questions are welcomed and encouraged to ensure we have a highly competent crew who are prepared for every eventuality.’
As for what he derives most satisfaction from, Patrick says: ‘The most rewarding part of being a volunteer with the RNLI is making a measurable difference to the charity’s purpose of saving lives at sea while also expanding my knowledge of the sea and learning essential skills.’
The roles you can apply for are varied as Eileen Murphy found when she joined almost 17 years ago and soon became a driver.
‘My great grandfather was Patrick Cullen who lost his life on the Helen Blake,’ Eileen explains. ‘My mother was very involved in the upkeep of the monument, and it was important to keep the connection with the lifeboat. I joined to help in whatever way I could and became a driver on the station Land rover that brings our D class lifeboat to its launching point once the pagers go off and the crew are kitted up.’
Eileen has also found the learning over the years to be invaluable: ‘The training has been fantastic. I have done off road driving, radio, and casualty care courses. I would never have got to do any of that except for the RNLI.’
As for what Eileen finds most rewarding, she says: ‘You feel you are contributing to a very good cause which is important to me. I have learned new skills and the sense of satisfaction you feel is great. You also make new friends.’
Walter Foley, Fethard RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said the team is looking forward to welcoming anyone who is interested in finding out more to the open day: ‘Volunteering with us gives people the opportunity to make a real difference in their local community, to save lives and become part of the larger RNLI family. We can’t keep people safe without the support of our wonderful volunteers, who truly make a difference every day no matter which role they are fulfilling.
‘We’re looking for enthusiastic people to come along on Saturday morning and see what is involved and learn how they can play their part. The RNLI provides first class training and equipment, guidance and support to all volunteers, from lifeboat crew to shore crew to fundraising crew. So, no matter the time or the skill you can offer, it is our hope that this can be the beginning of something exciting for new volunteers as it was for Patrick and Eileen some years ago while also allowing Fethard RNLI to continue its great work in saving lives at sea.’
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.