RNLI urges public to splash the cash to help save lives

by Sylvia Pownall

The RNLI is issuing its own call for help as Christmas approaches with the launch of its Perfect Storm fundraising appeal.

Irish lifeboats launched 1,066 times last year, coming to the aid of 1,441 people and saving 19 lives.

Howth RNLI and Skerries RNLI launched 37 times, bringing 76 people to safety.

While most of us are thinking about turkey and presents, dedicated RNLI volunteers will have their yellow wellies and lifejackets on standby, ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice to save lives at sea.

Howth RNLI volunteers Lorcan Dignam and Darrell Reamsbottom, who recently received their 20-year service award, will both be on call over Christmas.

Lorcan said: “I remember hearing stories about the lifeboats when I was younger and, as a lover of water sports and a member of the local yacht club, I couldn’t wait to get involved.

“Things have changed in the past two decades, and the training and equipment have got even better. Our kit is designed with the lifeboat volunteer in mind and has got lighter and more user-friendly.

“We are all aware that it is through the generosity of the public that we are able to continue to provide this service, and we are extremely grateful for that.”

Dad-of-three Darrell revealed: “I was a sailing instructor at a young age, and I wanted to give something back to the community.

“There is a great bond among the crew and no matter what we face, and sometimes that can be challenging or difficult, I know there is a team here who will support each other.

“My pager has gone off while I have been sitting down to dinner on Christmas Day, and it ended up being a false alarm with good intent.

“Even with that, I’d prefer we get called out, as it spares a family the worry over a missing loved one.”

Up the road at Skerries RNLI, the volunteer lifeboat crew have been training as they do all year round and are ready to launch if they get the call.

Lifeboat operations manager Niall McGrotty said: “On our crew we have six firefighters, two women and four men, who as well as keeping people safe on land are ready to give their free time to help save those on trouble on the water.

“We also have a doctor, a pilot, two prison officers and publican. It doesn’t matter what you do as the RNLI will provide the training.”

To support the RNLI’s Perfect Storm appeal this Christmas, see RNLI.org/ThePerfectStorm.

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