At 2.30pm, Saturday, May 11 2019, Lough Derg RNLI held their naming ceremony for their new inshore lifeboat, the Atlantic 85 B911 ‘Jean Spier’, in Dromineer.
The new B class lifeboat was donated to the RNLI by Robert Spier and his late wife Jean Spier. As active supporters of the RNLI they had together decided to donate money to the RNLI for an Atlantic lifeboat. Sadly Jean died in October 2017 and Robert dedicated the new boat in her honour.
With fantastic weather, the ceremony was held outside on the lawn of the Lough Derg Yacht Club. Children of the volunteer crew handed out brochures to guests as they arrived.
Niamh McCutcheon, Lifeboat Fundraising Chair and Irish Council Member opened the ceremony with special thanks to Robert Spier and the late Jean Spier for their generous donation.
Robert Spier expressed his pleasure in handing over the boat to the RNLI and into the care of Paddy McLaughlin, an RNLI Irish Council Member and Coxwain of Red Bay Lifeboat Station. Mr. McLaughlin thanked Robert, saying ‘there is no greater gift that we can receive, no act of generosity more appreciated by the volunteers than the bequest of a lifesaving vessel’.
Lough Derg Lifeboat Operations Manager, Liam Maloney accepted the lifeboat on behalf of volunteer crew, expressing his thanks to Robert and his late wife Jean, saying ‘on behalf of all of us at Lough Derg how proud we are to get this state of the art lifeboat for our station’. He acknowledged the magnitude of the gift, saying ‘This B class lifeboat means we now have the latest and finest rescue equipment available’.
On behalf of all station personnel at Lough Derg RNLI, volunteer members Aoife Kennedy, Administrative Officer and Ger Egan, Lifeboat Mechanic and helm presented Robert with the signature Lough Derg jacket with the ‘Jean Spier’ crest as a token of their appreciation, and welcomed him as an honourary member of the Lough Derg Lifeboat team.
The Reverend Roderick Smyth and Father William McCormack were invited to lead a service of dedication before poet and Lough Derg volunteer helm Eleanor Hooker read her poem, Lifeboat: for Robert Spier, i.m. Jean Spier.
Robert then officially named the lifeboat ‘Jean Spier’ in Dromineer before Pat Kelly, Boathouse Manager closed the ceremony with a note of thanks to all involved in making the event so successful.
Following the ceremony, guests were invited for afternoon tea in the Yacht Club, provided by Simply Foods from Nenagh. Fundraising Committee member, and former Deputy Launching Authority Teddy Knight took guests out on the lake in his boat the Ku-Ee-Tu to watch a demonstration of the new lifeboat in action.
We would like to express our thanks to the Commodore Tadgh Murphy and his committee for permitting is the use of Lough Derg Yacht Club’s premises for the occasion, to Gerardine Wisdom, official photographer for the day, and for the support of our friends and colleagues in the RNLI and various rescue agencies who attended and to members of our local community who are unfailing in their support of the lifeboat.
The success of the day was in no small way due to the hard work by the dedicated team of volunteers at Lough Derg RNLI Station and fundraising and by Alex Sivyer and Emily Weaver from the Events and Ceremonies team who travelled over from RNLI Headquarters in Poole. This great team spirit contributed to the great atmosphere of celebration on the day.