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Dun Laoghaire RNLI to host annual Christmas Eve ceremony to remember lives lost

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crew at Dun Laoghaire RNLI will hold their traditional Christmas Eve ceremony to remember the 15 volunteers that died on service in 1895 at 12 noon this Sunday.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI

The crew will remember all those who lost their lives around the coast and inland, and this year will be paying a special tribute to their Irish Coast Guard colleagues, the crew of Rescue helicopter 116, who died tragically last March.

The short ceremony will take place at mid-day on Christmas Eve at the lighthouse end of Dun Laoghaire's popular East Pier. It will include music, an ecumenical blessing, a contemporary newspaper account of the 1895 tragedy and a piped lament.

Both the all-weather and inshore lifeboats stationed at Dun Laoghaire will launch and the crew will lay wreaths at sea close to the pier.

The ceremony is a long-standing Christmas Eve tradition that remembers the lives of the 15 volunteer crew that died when their lifeboat capsized in gale force winds while attempting to rescue those on board the SS Palme that had run aground off Blackrock, Co. Dublin. All lives lost around our coast and on inland waterways in 2017 will be remembered during the ceremony.

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Note for editor

On 24 December 1895 the number two lifeboat was wrecked while proceeding to the assistance of the SS Palme of Finland, the whole of her crew, 15 in number, drowned.

Their names were John Baker, John Bartley, Edward Crowe, Thomas Dunphy, William Dunphy, Francis McDonald, Edward Murphy, Patrick Power, James Ryan, Francis Saunders, George Saunders, Edward Shannon, Henry Underhill, Alexander Williams and Henry Williams.

The lifeboat capsized when about 600 yards from the distressed vessel and, although every effort was made to render help to the lifeboat and to the Palme, nothing could be done. A second lifeboat also put out and also capsized under sail but fortunately all regained the lifeboat without loss of life.

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For more information please telephone Nuala McAloon RNLI Regional Media Officer Ireland on 00353876483547 or email Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org.uk or Niamh Stephenson RNLI Regional Media Manager Ireland on 00353871254124 or Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org.uk

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