#LIFEBOAT – The annual fundraising dinner in aid of Ballycotton RNLI lifeboat was held on Wednesday, 8 February, at The Grain Store, Ballymaloe, in East Cork, with special guest, Phil Coulter.
Tickets sold out well in advance of the event, with the proceeds going towards the RNLI's, Lifejackets for Lifesavers, appeal. The RNLI have designed innovative lifejackets in consultation with their lifeboat crew members and are due to replace all lifejackets in every lifeboat station in Ireland later this year. Events are being run to fund this and the event at The Grain Store, Ballymaloe, will be used to fund the replacement of lifejackets at Ballycotton RNLI lifeboat station.
In her speech, Ms. Fiona Flynn, Chairman of the Ballycotton RNLI lifeboat fundraising committee, welcomed the guests to the event. She informed them that RNLI lifeboats responded to over 980 calls for assistance in 2011, rescuing over 900 persons. Ballycotton lifeboat launched 14 times in 2011, 7 of which were night time rescues. She explained that the volunteer crew at Ballycotton spent 170 hours at sea during these shouts and a further 560 hours on training exercises. When Ms. Flynn finished, Rory Allen then welcomed the special guest of the evening, Phil Coulter.
To check the guests' vocals the evening's entertainment was opened with a rousing rendition of Ireland's Call. Phil Coulter sang a few more songs before introducing an array of amazing entertainers. The first on stage was Christine Moran, a 13 year old from Aghada. She wowed the audience with her rendition of Danny Boy, accompanied on the piano by the maestro himself. Following a second song from Christine, Deirdre Casey from Shanagarry took to the stage. She was followed by dance duo, Keith & Futo. Aghada's answer to West Life took to the stage in the guise of Eddie & Paddy, accompanied by Rory Allen on guitar. In between their two songs, Paddy kept the audience entertained with his stories.
Michael Cahill and Shannon Burke showed their Irish dancing skills before Roisin Donohoe took to the stage with her harp. This 15 year old, Junior Certificate student from Kinsale, amazed the audience with her skill on the harp. Before she left the stage she set her harp aside to sing unaccompanied. Roisin's proud mother later told a guest she also plays the viola and had actually won a competition earlier that day. The Armani Acrobats rounded up that section of the entertainment.
Following the presentation of the Ballycotton Lifeboats book, Ballycotton Lifeboats, 150 Years of Gallantry, by Fiona Flynn to Phil Coulter a very enjoyable evening was finished up when all those who participated in the entertainment returned to the stage and joined in with the guests to sing Home from the Sea, under the direction and musical accompaniment of Phil Coulter.
An impromptu traditional session then commenced with a couple of guests observed dancing to the music. A very enjoyable evening was had by all and a general reluctance by some to end their night out.