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Portrush RNLI Congratulates Fundraiser Becoming a Platinum Champion

10th June 2022
Portrush RNLI fundraising volunteer John Martin
John Martin was nominated by Nuala Muldoon, RNLI community manager for Northern Ireland for his “powerhouse” efforts, including keeping the lifeboat shop open during the pandemic Credit: RNLI/Judy Nelson

The teams at Portrush RNLI were delighted to hear that one of their fundraisers, John Martin, has been chosen as one of the 490 Platinum Champions due to his outstanding commitment to volunteering.

The Platinum Champion Awards were launched by the Royal Voluntary Service, of whom The Duchess of Cornwall is the president, to celebrate extraordinary volunteers Individuals and organisations were asked to nominated people who go the extra mile and deserved to be recognised in Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee year.

John was nominated by Nuala Muldoon, RNLI community manager for Northern Ireland.

John had been a frequent visitor to Portrush on the North Coast on holiday for many years, and when he moved to the area 10 years ago, he called into the lifeboat station to see if he could contribute in any way, which is where his fundraising story began.

Since then, John has been an integral part of the Portrush RNLI fundraising team, even going so far to having his head shaved in public to raise funds.

At that stage and during the early days of the pandemic, John was chair of the fundraising team, and in April 2022 he took over as the lifeboat shop manager, bringing energy and innovation to the outlet.

During the first months of COVID-19, the public could not come into the shop so John and his team took the shop outside the lifeboat station with a gazebo — operating in all weathers.

The ‘Pop-Up Shop’ became a fixture in the town as well as a real focal point for people walking to and from the harbour. As well as raising much-needed funds for the station, the gazebo also helped raised awareness of the RNLI.

Beni McAllister, Portrush’s lifeboat operations manager said: “The team at Portrush RNLI are delighted that John has been recognised in this way. He has been a real powerhouse in terms of keeping the shop going during the pandemic and exploring other ways of raising funds for the station during a very difficult time.

“We look forward to presenting him with his badge and certificate at a ceremony at the station.”

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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

© Afloat 2020

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