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Sligo Bay RNLI to name new lifeboat after devoted couple who loved the coast

Lifeboats News Release

The new Sligo Bay RNLI Atlantic 85 lifeboat is to be officially named Sheila & Dennis Tongue during a ceremony at the lifeboat station at Rosses Point in Sligo on Saturday (16 April 2016) at 3pm.

The lifeboat will be passed into the care of the RNLI and officially named during a short ceremony and service of dedication by brothers Raymond and Philip Tongue, who are nephews of the couple and will travel to Ireland with their families for the special event. 

Mr. and Mrs Dennis Tongue left a generous legacy to the RNLI in recognition of the vital life-saving work of the charity and as a ‘thank you’ for the happy days they spent living on the coast at Exmouth.  The couple were born in Birmingham in the 1920s and on Dennis’s retirement they moved to Devon where they lived until their eighties, overlooking the coast. The couple did not have any children and it was during their retirement that they came to know and admire the work of the RNLI and recognise its place in the life of the communities it served.

The new lifeboat replaces Elsinore, which during its 13 years on service launched 189 times and rescued 155 people.

Willie Murphy, Sligo Bay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager who will be accepting the lifeboat into the care of the station from the Tongue family on behalf of the volunteers commented; ‘I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the late Mr and Mrs Tongue for their generous and life-saving gift. This lifeboat is the vessel that will carry our volunteer lifeboat crew out to sea to save lives and rescue people in difficulty and it will provide our volunteer lifeboat crew the opportunity to train and develop their skills to carry out that work.’ 

‘We look forward to welcoming the family of Sheila and Dennis to this beautiful part of the world and we hope this is the beginning of a wonderful friendship with them.’ 

The Atlantic 85 lifeboat was built at a cost of €276,000 and was introduced into the RNLI fleet in 2005.  It operates mostly in shallow waters close to the shore or cliffs, among rocks and caves.  It is operational in conditions up to a Force 7 and the design of the lifeboat accommodates four crew and multiple casualties.

The lifeboat has a top speed of 35 knots and has a manual operated righting mechanism with inversion proofed engines; meaning it can be righted after capsize and kept operational.  The lifeboat is also capable of being beached in an emergency without sustaining damage to the engines.  It carries a full suite of communication and electronic navigation aids.

Sligo Bay RNLI crew and management will put their new lifeboat on display to the general public on their station open day on Sunday 19 June.


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Notes to editor
Photographs will be available following the ceremony.

RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Niamh Stephenson RNLI Public Relations Manager Tel: 087 1254 124 / 01 8900 460 email Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org or Nuala McAloon RNLI Press Officer Tel: 087 6483547 email: Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org or Aisling Gillen Sligo RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer Tel: 086 3818 114

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland