Displaying items by tag: Volunteering
Oban’s four deputy coxswains — Mark Scott, Finlo Cottier, David Isaac and James Hardie — have all been recognised by the RNLI for their dedication to the station.
The certificates awarded by the RNLI’s chairman and council recorded their “sincere thanks” for “giving time to help provide full time coxswain cover at the station” and for their “commitment and leadership”.
In addition, the Argyll station’s press officers Iain Fulton and Leonie Mead also received awards for their “invaluable support to Oban Lifeboat Station”.
Meanwhile, Tobermory Lifeboat Station — nearby, on the Isle of Mull — received an Excellence in Volunteering Award earlier in the autumn following an operational evaluation carried out by an independent RNLI team of assessors.
The award recognised the crew’s “invaluable service to the institution” and that “with a committed management team and crew fully engaged in all aspects of the station, your focused team efforts, camaraderie and professionalism are greatly appreciated”.
Tobermory lifeboat operations manager Dr Sam Jones also received an award in recognition of her “invaluable service” to the station, of her “outstanding contribution” and for “making a positive impact at the station, engaging the crew and providing safe and effective leadership”.
Full-time coxswain David McHaffie and mechanic Paul Gunn have also received staff awards in recognition of their leadership and dedication at the station.
The RNLI’s prestigious Excellence in Volunteering Awards recognise both staff and volunteers who have gone above and beyond what is expected of them.
Members of both stations attended a celebratory dinner at the Playfair Library in Edinburgh on Saturday 16 November, hosted by the RNLI’s chairman Stuart Popham and Scottish chairman Roger Lockwood.
The dinner rounded off a busy week for Tobermory RNLI. Members of the crew represented the station at the previous weekend’s Remembrance events in Tobermory, including the community commemoration, ‘Mull Remembers’, on Saturday 9 November and Sunday’s service at Tobermory Parish Church and wreath-laying at the war memorial.
Tobermory’s RNLI shop and fundraising branc,h along with some members of the crew, also hosted a mince pie and coffee morning at the Aros Hall on Saturday 16 November. This well-attended annual event took over £600 in shop sales and an incredible £508 from a raffle and donations.
McHaffie said: “The awards to the station recognise the hard work of everyone involved, particularly our volunteers who give up so much of their free time, not only for training and carrying out rescues, but also for helping to make the station run effectively and efficiently.
“I’m pleased that some partners of the crew were also able to attend the celebratory dinner in Edinburgh as we couldn’t operate without the support of our families and friends.”
More than 960 volunteers are helping to sustain sailing and boating across Northern Ireland each year, according to the RYA Northern Ireland.
In 2017, over 91,000 people took part in a sailing or boating activity.
And with 9,600 club members, volunteers are vital to keeping the sport alive.
“I first got involved through a member of Carrickfergus Sailing Club, who was also a member of Belfast Lough Sailibility. My husband and I had joined the sailing club as we wanted to develop our sailing skills. We spent an evening volunteering with BLS and loved it,” she says.
“Although we had no personal connection regarding disabilities, we were immediately drawn by the immense satisfaction of helping others.”
Gemma explains that her role is to support the overall aim of BLS and to provide access to waterborne activities for people with disabilities.
She says: “The rewards are seeing the smiling faces and hearing the laughter of participants and of being part of that. It is humbling to see just how they overcome extreme challenges.
“In addition to this, I get the opportunity to work with a great team of likeminded people and the craic is great.”
Gemma tells RYANI that she would recommend others to get involved, and she believes they will also see the rewards.
“I love it and always leave a volunteering session with a big grin on my face. I would absolutely encourage others, regardless of their abilities, to volunteer. I believe it is of benefit to both myself and others.
“It is only a few hours of my time each week, but it has a big impact upon people who get a lot of enjoyment from our support.”