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RNLI Round Ireland Runner Sets off on Bike on Another Lifeboat Fundraiser

10th April 2019
Mary Nolan Hickey is heading off on another lap of Ireland for the RNLI Mary Nolan Hickey is heading off on another lap of Ireland for the RNLI

Mary Nolan Hickey (66) ran around Ireland for the RNLI lifeboat last year, but is now setting off again on her bike for the same cause writes Lorna Siggins.

The veteran athlete from Arklow, Co Wicklow with some 57 marathons under her belt, raised over €72,000 (euro) for the RNLI in 2018.

The coastal circuit involved running some 1,509 miles on her “lap of the map”, but she says she won’t be content till she drums up €100,000 in total for the lifeboat service.

She will cycle two weeks on and one week off during her “lap of the map mark II”, setting out this Sunday (Apr 14).

“‘People think I am mad doing this but I have unfinished business for the lifeboat crews,” she says.

“ I had no idea of the support I would get when I started but then I called into the lifeboat stations, particularly in rural coastal communities, and I saw the incredible work the crews are doing,” she says.

It made up my mind that if I had the energy, I would do this here I go..’, Ms Nolan Hickey says.

Her latest fundraising project is part of the RNLI’s annual Mayday campaign, which is appealing to people to “do their bit to fund our kit”.

The lifeboat charity wants to raise €780,000 for equipment, including lifejackets, helmets and the RNLI’s distinctive “yellow wellies”.

Over 1,500 volunteer crew require all-weather gear suitable for long and often hazardous call-outs. The 24-hour search and rescue service launched 995 times last year, bringing 1,351 people to safety.

Of that figure, a total of 18 people had their lives saved by the direct action of the lifeboat crews, the RNLI says.

RNLI voluntary crew member and comedian PJ Gallagher, who has endorsed the campaign, says that he knows at first hand what the commitment involves.

“Our crews drop everything when their pagers go off to launch the lifeboat and head out to help those in trouble,” he says.

“ Our lifeboat crew kit gives us the confidence to face all weathers and conditions, day or night. The right kit is vital in helping to make sure we do what we are trained to do, and that we bring everyone home safely,” he says.

“I hope people will answer the RNLI’s Mayday appeal, and do something to support the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew in Ireland,” Mr Browne adds.

“It doesn’t matter how big or small it is. Every piece of kit on a volunteer has been funded through the generosity of people who donated to the charity,” he says.

Ms Nolan Hickey says she would “ love people to feel inspired by my story and to do something for Mayday”.

“There are all sorts of ways to fundraise, from wearing wellies to work or doing a sponsored welly walk, to holding a bake sale or doing a sponsored cycle ride,” she says.

The RNLI says that anyone can register for a free fundraising pack by visiting

The pack provides fundraising ideas. The charity is also encouraging support on social media, through online conversation with the hashtag #MaydayEveryDay.

People can donate online, or buy a yellow welly pin badge from accredited fundraisers, it says.

Ms Nolan Hickey’s official RNLI fundraising page is here

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004) on Irish helicopter search and rescue; and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010).

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