21 June 2016
By Bryan T. Smyth
The RNLI held its Annual Presentation of Awards at the Guinness Storehouse on Friday (17 June 2016) where the charity presented 56 individual awards to volunteers from across the country. Four of the awardees were from East Cork RNLI stations and branches.
The awardees were honoured for their significant contribution to the RNLI in Ireland and years of dedicated and committed service to the charity. Many awardees were fundraising volunteers, recognised for years of service to the charity, while others were lifeboat crew who collected their long-service badges after many years on the lifeboat.
Guest of honour at the ceremony was outgoing RNLI Chairman Charles Hunter-Pease who will step down later this year after a successful term as Chairman of the Institution.
Speaking to the awardees and their friends and family during the ceremony, Charles Hunter-Pease commented; ‘To everyone receiving an award, whether their service has been at sea or ashore, please wear it with pride. It is the mark of someone very special, selflessly dedicated to the lives of others.’
‘Every day, all around our coastline, people come together to do something incredible for someone they’ve probably never met. Lifeboat crews put to sea not knowing what situation they will face. It also takes determination to raise funds. It’s a determination that sees people raise astonishing sums to keep our service running, and that is no small feat, it requires endless talent, imagination and energy.’
Mr. David Delamer Chairperson of the RNLI Council in Ireland formally opened the proceeded and who welcomed the volunteers and their families to the ceremony. The citations for each awardee were read by Emma Gibson RNLI Area Manager and Owen Medland RNLI Divisional Operations Manager for Ireland central.
The East Cork RNLI awardees citations were as follows:
Ms Noreen O’Sullivan from Ballycotton RNLI Station Branch received a Gold Badge. Noreen grew up in a RNLI household as her father Donie was the Honorary Secretary of Ballycotton Lifeboat Station. Fundraising and assisting with admin at an early age, Noreen has been involved with the Ballycotton team in many roles, having led the Fundraising team for a number of years too. Noreen has been the Station’s Administration Officer for over 20 years contributing strongly to keeping the team on the right track.
Mrs Nuala Cashman Ballycotton RNLI Fundraising Branch received a Bar to Gold Badge. Nuala has been involved with the Ballycotton Branch for nearly 40 years and is the only founder member of the branch still working as a volunteer. She is a dedicated fundraiser and souvenir secretary. Nuala’s involvement in the Ballymaloe dinner has ensured its success over the years. She is very dependable and nothing is too big or too small an ask for Nuala.
Mr Patrick O’Mahony from Youghal RNLI Station Branch received his Certificate of Retirement. Patsy has been involved at Youghal LBS since 1984 as a crewmember & Helmsman. As a professional diver he has brought great skill to the RNLI during his 32 years of service.
Mr Mike Brooks from Youghal RNLI Station Branch received his Long Service Badge. For 20 years Mike has been the backbone of Youghal lifeboat. Joining as a shore helper he quickly developed into a crew member and has now been helming for many years. A professional and dedicated individual whose warm personality adds to his leadership style, Mike is very much deserving of this award.
Awardees were present from across Ireland representing lifeboat stations and branches in Dublin, Wicklow, Galway, Cork, Waterford, Mayo, Wexford, Kerry, Donegal, Clare, Limerick and Athlone.
One of the highest honours of the evening went to Ian Walsh who recently retired
as Lifeboat Operations Manager with Helvick Head RNLI. During the evening, along with the Honorary Lifeboat Governorship award, there were 31 Gold Badges, 12 Bar to Gold Badges, one Certificate of Thanks and 12 Long Service Badges presented by the Chairman.