The RNLI Annual Presentation of Awards took last week took place in the Ballroom of Farmleigh House in Phoenix Park and the Titanic Museum in Belfast. The two ceremonies also marked the 190th anniversary of the charity that saves lives at sea and on inland waters. The awards recognise fundraising and operational volunteers from across Ireland for their role in raising funds and awareness for the RNLI and in doing so supporting the volunteer lifeboat crews in their work.
Guest of honour for both ceremonies was RNLI Chairman Charles Hunter-Pease. Other attendees included the British Ambassador to Ireland Dominick Chilcott CMG, Commodore Hugh Tully, Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service, Breda Collins, Chairperson of Irish Water Safety and Yvonne Shields, Chief Executive of the Commissioners of Irish Lights.
At the Belfast Ceremony awards were given to two Donegal volunteers.
The citations read out at the ceremonies are as follows:
Dr John McFeely received an Inscribed Statuette. Dr. McFeely has undertaken the role of Lifeboat Medical Adviser at Lough Swilly Lifeboat Station for the last 10 years. He conducts the crew medicals promptly and can be relied upon to provide additional support to the lifeboat crew whenever required. He is a valued member of the team.
Peter McBride from the Downings/Carrigart RNLI branch received a Silver Badge. Peter is one of those people to whom nothing is too much trouble. He has a calm manner and his attitude towards supporting the RNLI is infectious. The branch is a great team and through his leadership has developed new events and the Downings Branch has gone from strength to strength in recent years, despite the economic situation.
Two Donegal RNLI volunteers opted to receive their awards at Farmleigh in Dublin last weekend.
Shane O’Neill from Bundoran RNLI received an Inscribed Statuette. Shane has worked incredibly hard as Lifeboat Training Coordinator at Bundoran Lifeboat Station for the last 10 years. His attention to detail and energy for the role is second to none. He is also lifeboat crew at Bundoran station.
Dr. Philip Murphy also from Bundoran RNLI, received an Inscribed Statuette. Dr Murphy has been conducting lifeboat crew medicals and providing welfare support for the team at Bundoran for over 14 years. He is well respected and his valuable contribution to the effective running of Bundoran lifeboat station should not be under estimated.
These awards follow the recent Gold Badge which was presented to Audrey Irwin from Donegal Town RNLI at the Barbican Theatre in London by Coxswain Mark Criddle. Audrey is synonymous with the RNLI in Donegal town. From collection boxes to flag days, from church gates to concerts, you will always find Audrey there. Her drive and enthusiasm over a long number of years has ensured that fundraising for the RNLI in Donegal is a priority. Audrey has been the constant that has ensured that Donegal fundraising branch continues to thrive. With her husband Jackie she has been to the forefront of the Donegal Flag Day which raises in excess of €4,000 each year.
During his speech RNLI Chairman Charles Hunter-Pease spoke of the awardees that were to be honoured during the ceremony, He said, ‘It all starts with the people who give their time, their donations and their expertise. Over the decades, as we have expanded our service and developed new craft and facilities; our volunteers, fundraisers and supporters have become more important than ever. Without them there is no lifeboat station, no lifeguard unit, no flood rescue team, and no coastal safety work preventing tragedies.’
* More pictures page 26 on Thursday.