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Displaying items by tag: Fundraising

Like every other RNLI station, lifeboat volunteers at Kinsale RNLI have been unable to pursue their normal fundraising activities due to Covid-19 restrictions.

So they were surprised and delighted to receive a cheque recently for over $5,000 from a group of Irish expatriates in the USA.

McCarthy’s Bar in San Francisco — owned by Eileen McCarthy from Drinagh, West Cork — became an unlikely outpost for the lifeboat thanks to Kinsale native John Farley, who has lived in the Californian city for the past 30 years.

John is a lifelong supporter of the RNLI, with first-hand experience of their work after he, his sister and niece were rescued a number of years ago when their boat broke down off the Old Head.

Towards the end of the American NFL season, John organised a football pool with 25 friends, many from West Cork, for the final four San Francisco 49er games. They raised an incredible $5,200.

This is the largest single donation received by Kinsale RNLI since lockdown was introduced in March last, and the station says it will go a long way towards funding an essential service that has remained on call throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eileen and John have now installed an official RNLI collection box in McCarthy’s bar so fundraising can continue into the future. “We all appreciate that that RNLI is there for us when we need them, so we wanted to be there for them in their hour of need,” John said.

Kinsale RNLI lifeboat press officer Tricia Tyson commented: “John has been a great supporter down the years, and tells me their next big fundraiser will be for the RNLI in the Aran Islands as one of his group, Ronan Concannon, is from Aran Mor.

“We are delighted they are sharing their generosity with hardworking stations around Ireland. Our RNLI collection box only arrived in San Francisco a few weeks ago and John tells me it is almost full already.

“On behalf of all our RNLI volunteers, I wish to sincerely thank John, Eileen and all the McCarthy’s bar customers for remembering the RNLI back home. It just goes to prove the old adage that you can take a man out of Ireland, but you can’t take Ireland out of the man.”

The other Kinsale fundraisers in San Francisco are Fergus O’Shea, Derek Lovell, Polo Crosbie, Jason Davenport, Richard O’Keeffe, with John Farley and Kathleen Barry in Boston, Gertie O’Shea in Vancouver and the Callanan family, related to John Farley, who live in Kinsale.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

What started as a small fundraiser for Galway RNLI and Cancer Care West has turned into something spectacular as the players and members of Galway Corinthians RFC have raised over €8,500 for both organisations through two fundraising efforts.

The first featured the senior players in the club with Jack Noone and Kenneth Casburn behind the organisation of ‘Movember’ where players, management and committee members grew facial hair of some kind for the month of November.

The second featured the mercurial talents of club president Kieran Faherty.

Known fondly as ‘Flash’, Kieran is an accomplished artist and he generously provided one of his paintings known as ‘Brewing Up A Storm’, a stunning view of Galway Bay that has proved very popular with prints and cards selling out quickly.

But what inspired the painting? “I am often asked that,” Kieran says. “Pretty much my signature pieces are all about colour, and Connemara is my inspiration for many.

“As a kid I only saw greyness in the Connemara landscape, but age opens your eyes. Now I embrace all the wonderful changing coloured landscape that the mountains, bogs and lakes give up to us.”

He added: “I think my inspiration for this piece is the challenges it offers, as it sits in stormy waters, and I think appropriately it is raising funds for a charity that lives in stormy waters with their incredible brave crew.”

The fundraising has been warmly welcomed by both organisations, with Mike Swan, Galway RNLI lifeboat operations manager, saying: “I wanted to express my personal gratitude for the effort of the members of Corinthians Rugby Club and thank them for their very generous donation, of which will be put to good use saving lives at sea.

“Given the year that’s in it, the crew are overwhelmed with the support from the people of Galway.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The families of RNLI lifeboat volunteers have joined an all-Ireland appeal for support after the charity’s usual Christmas fundraisers were cancelled.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the charity that saves lives at sea launched its 2020 Christmas appeal as so many traditional community fundraising events such as raft races, open days and sea swims have had to be called off due to coronavirus restrictions.

In Donegal, Lorraine Cassidy’s husband James and sons Nathan (22) and Oisin (21) are all volunteer crew members on Bundoran RNLI’s inshore lifeboat. They know all too well how important it is for crews to have the right lifesaving kit and PPE.

Nathan adds: “RNLI volunteers have had a challenging year but thankfully, with many additional safety measures and procedures in place to ensure our safety, we have remained on call 24/7 throughout the pandemic.

“We have our standard PPE but now also wear masks and gloves and take extra precautions at sea. We know the extra PPE comes at a financial cost to the charity and during a time when fundraising activity has had to be halted.”

Further south are Robert and Colette Foster, whose daughter Caoimhe (20) is a volunteer crew member on Crosshaven RNLI’s inshore lifeboat.

“We are very proud that Caoimhe has been a volunteer lifeboat crew member in Crosshaven for three years now,” her father Robert says. “Our son Cillian (17) is also joining the crew but due to Covid-19, won’t be starting his training until next year.

“Our youngest Clodagh is 12 and having watched Caoimhe’s involvement in the last few years, she is already aspiring to be part of the future crew.”

In East Cork, Mark Nolan has been a volunteer at Youghal RNLI for 23 years, first as a crew member on the station’s inshore lifeboat where he served for 13 years before moving to shore crew. In 2017 he became a deputy launching authority where, among his tasks, he authorises the launch of the station’s lifeboat when the alarm is raised.

Mark’s son Jack (22) followed in his father’s footsteps five years ago when he, too, joined the lifesaving team in Youghal.

“You worry when the pager beeps and you are responsible for authorising the launch of the lifeboat,” Mark says. “While Jack is my son, I would have similar concerns for all crew members who go out on the lifeboat to save others who are in trouble at sea.”

Jason Chambers and his wife Lauren received a special guard of honour from Portrush RNLI after their wedding last week (Photo: Mairéad McDaid/Remain In Light Photography)Jason Chambers and his wife Lauren received a special guard of honour from Portrush RNLI after their wedding last week | Photo: Mairéad McDaid/Remain In Light Photography

For Portrush RNLI relief mechanic Jason Chambers and his wife Lauren (McGee), who is a professional wedding photographer, 2020 has been a year like no other.

The couple who have two children, Tyler (9) and Isla (5), were originally due to get married on 18 April but when Covid-19 restrictions came in shortly after they returned from their hen and stag parties, they were forced to postpone and rethink their plans.

A stressful few months later and amid restrictions changing regularly, the couple eventually got their big day last week.

And much to Jason’s surprise and delight, four fully kitted-out lifeboat crew members representing the station were waiting outside the Arcadia in Portrush following the ceremony to provide a socially distant guard of honour to wish the couple well.

Lauren is also well used to family events being interrupted by the pager. And this Christmas will be no different for the Chambers.

“From the moment I met Jason, the RNLI pager became a part of my life, too. The lifeboat has always been in Jason’s blood and he comes from a long family line who have been involved in helping to save lives at sea for generations.

“It can be difficult seeing Jason leave when the pager goes, and he heads for the lifeboat. I worry about what he might go through when he is out on a shout. Even at Christmas, we know that he might have to drop everything like the other volunteers in Portrush, Red Bay or Larne and run out the door to go and save someone’s life.”

The same goes for Sue and Peter Irwin, longtime volunteers with Donaghadee RNLI, whose son Jack is a volunteer on Bangor RNLI’s inshore lifeboat.

“However, I also know how important the crew member’s role is and how rewarding it is for Jack to make his contribution just as it was for Peter and is for me as a fundraiser,” Sue says.

“The RNLI depends on the goodwill of others to support the work our volunteer crews do and that is why as a family, we would urge people if they can, to give to the Christmas appeal.”

Meanwhile, for one teenager who has helped out where he can at Kilkeel RNLI since he was a child, this year Christmas will be extra special as he will finally be eligible to join the crew on his 17th birthday on Christmas Eve.

Andrew Young’s father Gary has been a RNLI volunteer for the last 32 years. Watching his father work as station mechanic and helm, Andrew was inspired to become a crew member at a young age and is now looking forward to making his own contribution.

“I have been coming to the station with Dad for years and I always loved watching the crew prepare and train between call outs,” Andrew said. “I have helped out where I can but I am really excited now to start my own training to become a crew member and I will look forward to the day that I, too, can help bring someone in difficulty to safety.”

All families share pride in their loved ones’ lifesaving efforts, but they also worry when the pager beeps and they’re called out to save others who are in trouble.

The sense of relief when they help to bring those in difficulty back to safety, but also when they return home safety themselves, is one that they all feel.

And they’re united in declaring that the best Christmas gift they can wish for is any kind of donation, no matter how small, to the RNLI Christmas appeal.

Funds raised will provide the lifesaving kit volunteers so need to continue to help saving lives at sea. For more visit RNLI.org/Xmas

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Staff at the Marine Institute are attempting to walk, run, row, cycle and swim the 4,068km distance from their headquarters in Galway to the North Pole in aid of the RNLI.

And they’re inviting everyone to join in and support their virtual festive fundraising challenge, which runs until Friday 18 December.

“Many of our colleagues and those that we work with spend much of their time at sea,” says Marine Institute chief executive Dr Paul Connolly. “Knowing that the emergency services are there should we need them is a huge comfort for all who use the ocean whether for work or for pleasure.

“This year has been difficult for many and especially hard also for charities such as RNLI Lifeboats Ireland. For these reasons, as an organisation the Marine Institute decided that together we could do our bit to support the RNLI and have a bit of festive fun while we are at it.”

It costs the RNLI €1,650 to train a volunteer lifeboat crew member for a year, and €1,764 to kit them out in their lifesaving gear — so every euro raised counts.

“We are asking the public to consider adding their kilometres to our fundraiser and making their steps or swims count. Together we can make this an easy downhill and raise much needed funds for RNLI lifeboats,” Dr Connolly adds.

If you want to take part, commit some kilometres to the 4,000km total or choose to donate. And don’t forget to post your challenge photos on social media, tagging the Marine Institute on Twitter or Facebook and using the hashtag #NorthPoleChallenge

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Volunteers with Seal Rescue Ireland walked 117km — a kilometre for every seal the charity rescued last year — to raise much needed funds for their efforts last month.

As the Gorey Guardian reports, the ‘Seal Stride’ challenge took the place of their usual fundraising efforts amid the continuing coronavirus situation.

And the marine wildlife charity’s staff were joined by supportive members of the public walking, running or jogging to reach the 117km mark between them over the month of September.

“We were delighted to get people involved and track their own kilometres,” said Seal Rescue Ireland intern Amy Dodd, who came up with the initiative, “but tie it in to the fact that Seal Rescue Ireland is down 88% of funds compared to last year.”

The Gorey Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

One of Ireland’s busiest lifeboat units is seeking the public’s help to upgrade its home base and carry on its lifesaving mission.

Lough Ree RNLI’s volunteers have been rescuing people from the lough’s 29km stretch of inland waterway since 2012, launching more than 370 times and helping over 1,060 people.

But despite their key role in water safety for the area, their lifeboat station operates from temporary shipping containers — and the unit urgently needs a new, purpose-built station with modern facilities for casualties, crew and craft.

“A new lifeboat station will make a huge difference to our lifesaving service here and in the local community,” said crew member Tom Bradbury.

“It will provide excellent training and changing facilities, and help us launch safety and efficiently every time. With you by our side, we can carry on our rescue mission.”

The crew are counting on public generosity to help them raise €100,000 towards cost of this new building at Coosan Point, which would be shared with the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI).

And any funds raise above the €100,000 target will be used across all RNLI services, wherever they’re needed most.

Click HERE to donate to the Lough Ree lifeboat appeal. If you have any questions about the appeal, or would prefer to donate by phone, call the RNLI supporter experience team at 81 895 1877 (or 0300 300 9907 if calling from the UK) weekdays from 8am to 6pm.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Two Baltimore women are running a virtual relay race around Ireland for their local lifeboat, after the annual charity walk was cancelled over coronavirus restrictions.

Anna Carthy and Odharnait Collins are now on day three their ‘Race to Raise’ in aid of Baltimore RNLI, in which they and other participants are getting out and about for a walk, run, swim or cycle and adding up their distances.

At the end of day two yesterday (Monday 13 July), the group has already totalled hundreds of kilometres — the distance from Baltimore to Wicklow anti-clockwise around the coast.

And the organisers have raised more than €600 awards their €1,000 goal for the local lifeboat service.

“Covid-19 restrictions have had a huge impact on our annual fundraising events for Baltimore lifeboat with many events having been cancelled,” said Carthy and Collins.

“We have been thinking how we could run these events virtually, whilst obeying these restrictions, and so have moved our annual lifeboat walk online this year.

“Please help us walk the distance around Ireland from station to station to create awareness and raise money for this vital service.”

For more details see the ‘Race to Raise’ page on Facebook and the fundraising page on GoFundMe.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Sea swimmer and experienced kayaker Kevin O’Sullivan has presented Skerries RNLI with a donation of €1,200 from monies raised while kayaking solo around the island of Ireland.

Kevin’s three-year venture started in 2016 and was spurred by his love of kayaking.

“After over 35 years of kayaking, looming large in front of me was my own personal edge,” he explains of his decision to embark on the solo circumnavigation.

“I had been operating as a volunteer kayak instructor with Skerries Sea Scouts for seven years. Being inspired by the courage of the many junior paddlers within their ranks, I decided it was high time I ventured outside my own comfort zone as this mission materialised out of the faintest whisper of a long-held dream I had thought about for years.”

During the planning of the trip, Kevin said he was aware of the work done by volunteers at his local RNLI station in Skerries, and Medicins Sans Frontiers in the Mediterranean.

“I decided to put a charity element to my venture. Monies raised were split down the middle and shared.

“My local involvement with The Frosties, a year-round sea swim group, gave me first-hand knowledge of the very critical service the RNLI offers to all water users. We have availed of their service on a few occasions.

“I am not alone in complimenting their non-judgemental approach to any rescue they carry out. It is wonderful to give something back to this great organisation.’

Kevin’s circumnavigation was all the more remarkable in that he achieved it in his spare time, committing to the adventure for almost three years.

“I would kayak a stretch over a few days, camping as I went, depositing my kayak with a helpful soul, whilst returning home to family and work for a period.

Kevin O’Sullivan using his paddle to pass the ‘Bag of Swag’ while maintaining social distancing (Photo: RNLI/Gerry Canning)Kevin O’Sullivan using his paddle to pass the ‘Bag of Swag’ while maintaining social distancing | Photo: RNLI/Gerry Canning

“When the next favourable weather window opened coincident with my time off work, I would return to my boat continuing along the coast, all the while eating away at the total distance of 1,750 km to put me back into Skerries where I started.”

First circumnavigated in 1978 by a three-man team, around 100 have now completed the trip, mostly in small groups.

“Only 25 of these have been solo. Mick O’Meara, from Waterford, holds the record at 23 days, and was my own personal inspiration for the trip.”

Kevin says he wasn’t sure he could “stomach” the challenge due to his propensity for sea sickness, but the story of Mick O’Meara kept his spirits up.

“Thankfully I was graced with good weather, great support and my body held out so that after three summers, my kayak found itself being slid back onto its rack after a 903-day absence.”

Kevin recalled of his achievement: “I camped, B&Bed, was put up by strangers, slept in adventure centres, friends’ houses and hostels. I used planes, trains and automobiles to get to and from the remotest corners of this island to complete my paddling project.

“Once, in fact, I walked two-and-a-half kilometres on the Hook Peninsula to get to my B&B from the beach I landed on, back in November 2017. The proprietor, who very kindly reopened his B&B for me, stood shocked when I rolled my 18ft long kayak up his driveway rather than atop my car.”

Gerry Canning, volunteer lifeboat press officer for Skerries RNLI, commended Kevin for his fundraising efforts on behalf of the station.

“This was a phenomenal effort with an amazing amount raised for Skerries RNLI and we want to say a huge thank you to Kevin. With so many fundraising events cancelled this year, donations like this are even more crucial.

“We can really feel Kevin’s pride for what he has achieved and his enthusiasm for helping the charities he donated to. These funds are very much appreciated by all here at Skerries and will help us to continue to save lives at sea.”

Published in Kayaking

Four Dun Laoghaire-Based 29er sailors have raised more than €7,700 for the RNLI in their virtual cycling challenge.

Last weekend, the quartet of Max Goodbody, Nathan van Steenberge, Sam Ledoux and Tim Norwood — along with their coach Thomas Chaix — took on the epic round-Ireland route on stationary bakes in their own homes.

In just over a week the team have covered a total of 1,700km — and that’s all the more impressive considering they’ve been fitting in biking sessions around their school work.

Along the way they’ve been joined on various legs by fellow 29er team member Leah Rickard, Finn sailor Oisin McClelland, Laser Radial challenger Aoife Hopkins and Olympic silver medallist Annalise Murphy.

But as they enter the home stretch and the remaining 360km to Dun Laoghaire tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday 19 May), the pressure will be on as they will be joined by Dublin-based former pro cyclist and current super coach Matteo Cigala.

Cigala’s 20-year professional career included junior participation in the World Championship representing Italy and stand-out performances for many years in Ireland’s An Post Ras.

As a coach, he supported Greg Swinand in his two successful Irish hour record efforts. He is the founder and head coach of Cigala Cycling and current head of athlete performance at Ireland’s only professional cycling team, EvoPro Racing.

For more on the team’s endeavour and how to support their efforts, see the GoFundMe page HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Four Dun Laoghaire-based 29er sailors and their coach have started their own ‘virtual cycling’ challenge in aid of the RNLI.

Max Goodbody, Nathan van Steenberge, Sam Ledoux and Tim Norwood, along with coach Thomas Chaix, have taken on the epic route via every lighthouse around the island of Ireland — but covering the distance on stationary bikes in their own homes.

The team aims to complete the 2,000km route — with 14,000 metres of climbing — in 11 days while raising funds for the charity that saves lives at sea.

Since starting on Saturday 9 May, they have already covered the distance from Dun Laoghaire to West Cork — and that’s around their home school commitments, too.

Already exceeding their initial target of €2,000, the team have so far raised over €5,000 to keep the RNLI afloat in uncertain waters.

And as they go on they will be joined by an Olympian and former Olympian for various parts of the ride — with rumours of some other big names set to tag along.

“All of us are sailors and appreciate the work of the RNLI, and understand how dangerous and unforgiving the sea can be,” the team said.

“We are thankful for the bravery of the lifeboat volunteers who go out and risk their lives for others in all weathers. It would mean a lot to us if you could support us in this project.”

For more on their endeavour and how to support the team, see the GoFundMe page HERE.

Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under
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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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