RNLI honours Lough Derg volunteers at awards ceremony in Farmleigh as charity celebrates 190th anniversary

The RNLI Annual Presentation of Awards took place on Saturday (21 June) in the Ballroom of Farmleigh House in Phoenix Park. It was a special occasion as it 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 the occasion was RNLI Chairman Charles Hunter-Pease, who handed out awards to sixty-one volunteers. 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.


Dr. Peter Hooker

Dr. Peter Hooker

This year the highest award the charity can bestow on a volunteer, an Honorary Lifeboat Governorship, was given to Buddy Valkenburg who was instrumental in the establishment of the Ballyglass lifeboat station in Mayo.


Awardees were present from all over Ireland representing lifeboat stations and branches in Dublin, Donegal, Sligo, Wicklow, Cork, Louth, Waterford, Wexford, Tipperary, Kerry, Galway, Clare, Mayo and Kildare. The awards presented included the Honorary Lifeboat Governorship, 5 Gold Badges, 8 Silver Badges, 9 Inscribed Statuettes, 2 Inscribed Binoculars, 20 Bronze Badges, 7 Supporter Awards and 9 Certificates of Thanks.


Two RNLI volunteers from Lough Derg were honoured. Names and citations below:


Dr. Peter Hooker was awarded an Inscribed Statuette.  Peter has served the medical needs of the Lough Derg Lifeboat Station since its establishment.  It is a family involvement with his wife Eleanor serving as Helm and Lifeboat Press Officer and Peter is a pivotal member of the Operations Team at this busy inland station.  Ever present for meetings and operational needs Peter takes a genuine active part in the medical aspects of the crews training sitting in on Casualty Care courses and attending station in emergencies.


Dr. Pat Kelly

Dr. Pat Kelly

Dr. Pat Kelly of the Lough Derg RNLI fundraising branch received a Bronze Badge. Pat joined Lough Derg fundraising committee in 2003 and has been the Honorary Secretary of the Branch since 2007.  He is a very reliable branch member who is active in attending branch meetings and can always be counted on to help out with local events and collections despite his many other commitments. Popular and well respected locally his efforts contribute hugely to the smooth running of the branch and local fundraising events. 


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.’

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