The parents of a 20-year-old Crosshaven RNLI crew member are asking Cork people to support the charity’s Christmas appeal to help volunteers continue their lifesaving work through the challenges of Covid-19.
Like most charities this year, the RNLI has seen a drop in income in 2020 as a result of traditional fundraising activities being cancelled.
The decrease in funds, however, came as the charity had to spend additional funds in order to ensure volunteer lifeboat crews had vital PPE to keep their lifesavers safe.
As lockdown restrictions eased between the months of July to October, lifeboats at Ireland’s 46 stations, launched 512 times with their crews bringing 793 people to safety. The statistics reflect an increase of 33 more launches and 164 more people aided, during the same period last year.
Robert and Colette Foster whose 20-year-old daughter, Caoimhe is a volunteer crew member on Crosshaven RNLI’s inshore lifeboat, know all too well how important it is for crews to have the right lifesaving kit and PPE.
“We are very proud that Caoimhe has been a volunteer lifeboat crew member in Crosshaven for three years now,’ said Robert Foster.
“But we also worry when the pager beeps and Caoimhe is called out to save others who are in trouble. There is always such a sense of relief when she helps to bring those in difficulty back to safety but also when she returns home safely herself.”
Caoimhe's brother, 17-year-old Cillian, is also set to join the crew and he will commence his training next year. After watching her older sister’s involvement, 12-year-old Clodagh Foster is also aspiring to join the crew in the future.
While Caoimhe was the first family member to get involved, Robert and Colette are used to family events being interrupted by Caoimhe's pager and call to help someone at sea, no matter what day or time it is.
"Caoimhe by her very nature is a very giving person, very caring, and loves to give back to the community in any way she can," said Mr Foster.
"It can be difficult seeing her leave when the pager goes. We worry about what she might go through when she is out on a shout. Even at Christmas, we know that she might have to drop everything like the other volunteers in Crosshaven and run out the door to go and save someone’s life.
“However, we also know how important the crew member’s role is and how rewarding it is for Caoimhe to make her contribution."
Robert Foster has called on the people of Cork to support the RNLI crews this Christmas, stating that the volunteers depend "on the goodwill of others" to support them and their work.
"As a family, we would urge people if they can, to give to the Christmas Appeal," he said.
Caoimhe Foster added to her father’s plea, encouraging the people of Cork will donate to the charity this year and help them to continue their lifesaving work.
"RNLI volunteers have had a challenging year but thankfully, with many additional safety measures and procedures in place to ensure our safety, we have remained on call 24/7 throughout the pandemic,” she said.
“The best Christmas gift RNLI volunteers like me can wish for, is a kind donation to our Christmas appeal. Funds raised will provide the lifesaving kit we need when we are at sea and helping to bring someone to safety,” she added.
To support, visit: RNLI.org/Xmas