Kilrush RNLI volunteers facing the Perfect Storm this Christmas
As Christmas approaches, the RNLI is issuing its own call for help as the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews are getting busier. The charity is facing a ‘Perfect Storm’ with more people than ever needing its help, meaning support from the public is more vital than ever.
To ensure the RNLI can continue its lifesaving work this Christmas and into the future, the charity is running a major fundraising appeal called The Perfect Storm.
Two new recruits at Kilrush RNLI are facing their very first Christmas on call as volunteer lifeboat crew. James Harding and John Vaughan both joined Kilrush RNLI during 2019 and while many people will be thinking about presents, turkey and time with the family, they will join RNLI volunteers from 46 lifeboat stations across Ireland ensuring their yellow wellies and lifejackets are ready if the call for help comes. They must be prepared to drop everything at a moment’s notice and launch to help those in trouble on the water and to save lives at sea.
John Vaughan is a Kilrush native but spent some years working away from home. Now that he is back and settled down and working for the HSE, he wanted to give something back to his community. A keen water sports enthusiast, John had taken part in the Christmas Day swim at Cappa for many years and had always thought of joining the crew. At 46 years of age he thought he might have missed his chance to be on the inshore lifeboat but when he approached the Lifeboat Operations Manager, he was assured that he had many years of lifeboating in him if he was interested.
Commenting on the decision to join the crew John said, ‘I have always admired the work of the Kilrush RNLI, and I thought that I might have missed my chance to join. Thankfully it wasn’t the case and I’m facing my first Christmas wearing a lifeboat pager. I exercise regularly with the crew and have been on a shout already to help four people who got into difficulty on their boat. I do this to give something back to my community.’
James Harding works as a radiographer in the Bons Secours Hospital in Galway and is from Dublin. Love brought him to Kilrush, and he is engaged to local woman, Suzie Glynn, whose brother Charlie is a Helm on the lifeboat. James has now relocated to permanently to Kilrush and commutes to Galway for work. When he is at home, he is ‘on-call’ for the lifeboat. This Christmas will be his first wearing the lifeboat pager.
Speaking about why he joined the RNLI James said, ‘When I was in Dublin, I had no relationship with the sea. I didn’t do any water sports and my passion was rugby. I wanted to be part of a team and when I arrived in Kilrush I saw that team in the lifeboating community. I don’t have a maritime background so I’m starting from zero and learning the ropes week by week. However, coming from a medical background I really appreciate all the casualty care. My colleagues in the hospital in Galway know about the RNLI and are seriously impressed at my volunteering. There is a definite respect for the sea and appreciation of those who go out to help those in trouble.’
The RNLI couldn’t do what it does without the support of the public. The charity has experienced a shortfall in funds but is rescuing more people than ever before. Its volunteers are facing the Perfect Storm and are calling on people to make a donation this Christmas to ensure they can continue saving lives at sea.
To support the RNLI’s Perfect Storm, appeal this Christmas, helping to ensure the charity’s brave volunteers can continue saving lives at sea, please visit RNLI.org/ThePerfectStorm
Notes for Editor - Photo captions
RNLI 4 – L-R New volunteers for Kilrush RNLI James Harding and John Vaughan
RNLI 6 – L – R Newly appointed volunteer lifeboat crew for Kilrush RNLI, John Vaughan and James Harding get on their lifeboat kit for an exercise at the Clare lifeboat station.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please Nuala McAloon, Regional Media Officer on 0876483547 or Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org.uk or Niamh Stephenson, Regional Media Manager on 0871254124 or Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org.uk
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.