31 January 2020
By Bryan Smyth
The annual Ballycotton RNLI Gala Dinner took place today at Ballymaloe House, with a ‘Downton Abbey’ theme, raising a record €20,000 for Ballycotton RNLI to support the volunteer crew.
The RNLI is a charity supported solely by donations and fundraising. It costs approximately €242,300 per year to run the all-weather lifeboat station at Ballycotton. Funds raised at this event will ensure that the crew has the necessary equipment and training to keep the coastline safe. With the generous support of sponsors to cover all the costs of the 2020 Gala Dinner, 100% of the ticket price and donations raised will go directly to the Ballycotton RNLI.
“We have been expecting you”…. The 1920’s ‘Downton Abbey’-themed event kicked off with canapées and gin cocktails sponsored by Black’s Brewery accompanied by Perfidia Jazz quartet in the Drawing Room. Head Chef, Dervilla O’Flynn served a delicious seasonal and locally sourced menu of Carrigaline carrot and lemongrass soup with Kinoith yoghurt, scallop shell of seafood with shallot and thyme cream, followed by a choice of roast East Cork beef with Bordelaise and horseradish sauces with roast parsnips or pan-seared Ballycotton catch with Bretonne sauce and braised fennel, accompanied by garden spring onion champ, kales and bay-scented carrots. Dinner concluded with almond meringue with rhubarb, crème anglaise and lemon curd cream from the Ballymaloe award-winning dessert trolley, and coffee and truffles. A choice of eight specially selected wines included three organic wines, from Spain.
After dinner, The Runaway Retros, Cork’s own sassy southern soul-swing sensations, helped raise the roof as well as funds with guests dancing the night away. Further entertainment included a charity Blackjack table and Celfie mirror, hosted by Celebsentertainment.ie. The Gala raffle included money-can’t buy prizes including: private boat tour for four on The Camila E, Ballycotton (Champagne breakfast, Ballycroneen swim, Cork Harbour tour, Lunch in Cronin’s Crosshaven, and private tour of Ballycotton Lighthouse); private boat tour for four on Thunder Child II, with Safehaven Marine; and private meet and greet with Des Bishop for two post show at The Grainstore, Ballymaloe).
Ballycotton RNLI crew is made up of 22 volunteers and on average each of the crew spent over 40 hours at sea between training and rescues.
Mary Creedon, RNLI Community Manager for Munster said: ‘On behalf of the RNLI, I would like to express my sincere thanks to everyone who attended this fantastic long-standing fundraiser in Ballymaloe House. None of the rescues undertaken by Ballycotton RNLI would have been possible without the contribution of the funds given by the public and community of Ballycotton through fundraisers like this. Thanks to the Gala committee, sponsors, the Allen Family and staff at Ballymaloe House, and Gala guests for their generous support, we will be able to continue saving lives at sea in 2020’.
The Allen family has proudly hosted a Ballycotton RNLI fundraising event since opening Ballymaloe House to the public in 1964. The event is particularly special to the family as Myrtle and Ivan Allen met at a Ballymaloe House lifeboat dinner hosted by the previous house owners. The Ballycotton RNLI Fundraising Committee is hugely grateful for their exceptional ongoing support, as well as the generosity of 2020 event sponsors Cully & Sully, East Cork Oil, Hurley’s SuperValu Midleton, Sea Church Ballycotton, Safehaven Marine and VTSL Ireland. The event was only made possible thanks to their generosity and the many local supporters providing a range of wonderful raffle prizes.
The Ballycotton Lifeboat Fundraising Committee would like to thank all the sponsors, supporters and donors for their generous support.