Photo: Michael Hussey (YoughalOnline.com)
Retiring RNLI Chairman visits Youghal Lifeboat Station
Sir Jock and Lady Slater, Terence Johnson Deputy Chairman RNLI, Martyn Smith new Divisional Inspector for Ireland and Anna Classon, National Fundraising and Communications Manager RNLI and members of the Youghal RNLI
The Youghal RNLI crew and members were delighted to welcome Sir Jock Slater, Chairman, RNLI and his wife, Lady Slater, together with the Deputy Chairman, Terence Johnson (Ireland), Martyn Smith, new Divisional Inspector, and Anna Classon, National Fundraising and Communications Manager, RNLI. The Chairman is visiting ten stations in the South East, before his imminent retirement. The morning was bright and sunny, and the visitors were very impressed with the lifeboat’s premises.
Presentation made by Seamus Mason Youghal RNLI to Sir Jock, which was a Waterford Crystal piece with the Youghal Coat of Arms inscribed upon it
After a tour of the facilities, Sir Jock addressed those present. In his address he said that there were twice as many people rescued now than twenty years ago. ‘Last year there were 8,000 rescues – which were tough’, Sir Jock stated.
He told the story of the rescue of a boat off the south coast of England which had a load of timber on board, bound for Egypt. Twelve people were saved by helicopter and there were 7 people left on board. The Lifeboat tried fifty times to get alongside the ship to rescue the remaining people and eventually was successful. All were saved, despite tremendous danger to all involved. The Coxswain was awarded a Silver Medal for the rescue.
Sir Slater then went on to say that the RNLI now have Beach Lifeguards on approximately 110 beaches. Last year there were 300 lives saved, 500 people rescued and more than 3,000 incidents in total. He believes there is no dividing line between boats and beaches – all need rescuing or saving.
He continued by saying it is hoped that the number of Lifeguards will be doubled by the year 2011.
A Flood Response Team has now been set up by the RNLI. The world is seeing more and more flooding which creates huge problems and the RNLI Flood Response Team are certainly making a large contribution in this area.
The RNLI Training College is a major boost, having trained 6,000 people to date. Education with regard to life saving, the seas, rescue etc., is crucial. This year alone, discussions and talks took place with 260,000 children throughout the UK and Ireland. In September 2008, a trial scheme commences whereby seventy people will learn all about the RNLI and what it entails. It is hoped that the next generation will become as prolific as this generation.
The RNLI will be erecting a Memorial outside the Lifeboat College to commemorate the 600 men who died in the line of duty in the RNLI since the early 19th century. The dramatic statue shows a lifeboat volunteer with a helping hand extended downwards into a boat. The cost of this Memorial is being paid for by the RNLI Heritage Trust.
Sir Slater and his guests started their visit in Lough Derg. Following on from their visit to Youghal, they will visit Helvick, Tramore, Dunmore East and Fethard on Sea. On Wednesday, they travel to Kilmore, Rosslare and Wexford.
The crew and members of Youghal RNLI should be proud of what they do. They have a Lifeboat Station which is second to none, and a dedication which is unparalleled. Their passion for what they do can be seen by all, and they are a credit to our town. This year alone, €35,000 was raised in Youghal and the surrounds for the RNLI. The RNLI is one of the charities which is so deserving, and for those living along the coastline, totally necessary. Let us never forget what they do.
Copyright to Denise FitzGerald, East Cork Journal
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