Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Lough Swilly RNLI Groom’s Wedding Speech Interrupted By Lifeboat Launch

12th October 2016
Helen McFarland with her husband, Lough Swilly lifeboat crewman Francy Burns Helen McFarland with her husband, Lough Swilly lifeboat crewman Francy Burns Photo: Jay Doherty

#RNLI - Buncrana man Francy Burns wed his sweetheart, Carndonagh woman Helen McFarland, last Saturday 8 October in a wedding attended by their family, friends and the volunteers with Lough Swilly RNLI.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing, as after the vows were exchanged and Francy took the microphone to make his wedding speech, the lifeboat pagers went off and the volunteer lifeboat crew jumped to their feet and raced out of the room to the callout.

The incident was a reminder to Helen of what she can expect married to a lifeboat volunteer.

However, as Francy was preparing to follow his lifeboat colleagues and head out the door to the callout, the coxswain assured him they had enough crew and he could stay where he was and enjoy the day.

The callout was to a vessel with one person on board which had lost engine power and had been drifting for three hours.

Lough Swilly RNLI launched their new Shannon-class lifeboat and brought the vessel to safety, with the lifeboat crew returning to the wedding reception some hours later.

As the wedding reception was held in the Gateway Hotel, Francy had the perfect view out the window down on the berth from where the lifeboat is launched.

“It was certainly a day of mixed emotions,” said Francy. “I married the most beautiful and amazing woman but when I saw the crew stand up to head out for the lifeboat shout during my speech my first thoughts were to follow them.

“You never know what you are launching to but thankfully it was fairly straightforward. Helen understands how I feel about the lifeboat and she is fully supportive. You never know, I might even persuade her to sign up too.”

Lough Swilly lifeboat volunteer crew member and press officer Joe Joyce added: “The launch sort of added to the whole day. You couldn’t have planned it better.

“Everyone with Lough Swilly RNLI wish Francy and Helen every happiness on their marriage and we will see Francy down at the station for our next shout.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
MacDara Conroy

About The Author

MacDara Conroy

Email The Author

MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

RNLI Ireland Information

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 over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and the 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 142,200 lives.

How many RNLI stations are there in Ireland?

46 stations

The RNLI currently operates from 46 stations in the Republic and Northern Ireland. Different classes of lifeboat are needed for various locations. So RNLI lifeboats are divided into two category types: all-weather and inshore.

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2020

Wave button for Afloat new dates

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

quantum sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating