A NEW addition to Castletownbere RNLI, who completed his training earlier this year, will be among the volunteer lifeboat crew members in Cork preparing to drop their festive plans and go to the aid of someone in need if their pager sounds over the Christmas period.
Dion Murphy Kelly, who received his pager in March, said he was inspired to join the RNLI by his family’s connection to the sea.
“My family is involved in fishing and we have lost family members to the sea over the years.
“I am not involved in fishing myself, but I wanted to be involved and give back in a different way. I am the first member of my family to join a lifeboat crew,” he said.
An apprentice ESB technician by day, Dion joined the crew in Castletownbere just before the pandemic but due to restrictions was only able to complete his training and assessments earlier this year.
“I have been on two call outs so far, one to a help a couple on a troubled yacht that got hit by a change in the weather and the other was in response to a medevac, but we were stood down.
“The adrenalin does kick in when the pager goes off and it is all systems go and then it is just about staying focussed.
“It is rewarding, I remember the look on the couple’s faces that we rescued on the yacht, and they were so thankful to be dry and in the lifeboat station.
“There is great satisfaction in being able to help people,” he said.
Elsewhere in Cork, Crosshaven RNLI’s Holly Fegan and Ballycotton RNLI’s Adam Hussey, Kate Fleming, Johannes Reiher and husband and wife Brian and Ann Daly, will also be among those on call over the festive season.
Nineteen-year-old Holly joined the crew at Crosshaven RNLI three months ago.
Her father James has been on the crew for 18 years while her cousin Molly is also a crew member and her uncle and godfather Patsy Fegan is the lifeboat operations manager.
The family ties don’t end there, as her aunt Tina Bushe was the first female helm at Crosshaven while supporting the work of the station’s fundraising branch are her aunt Annamarie Fegan and before her, Holly’s late grandmother Marie Fegan.
“Since I was a child, I have been going to the lifeboat station with my dad or helping out at open days with my grandmother,’ Holly said. “I have always loved the atmosphere and the way everybody helps each other and it is a small community in Crosshaven and I like giving back.
Also on call this Christmas is Adam Hussey who took over as station mechanic at Ballycotton RNLI earlier this year. Married with two children, Adam has been on five call outs since becoming a mechanic and says the adrenalin and sense of pride involved is unrivalled with anything he has ever experienced before.
Over the last five years from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day, RNLI lifeboats in the Irish region launched 55 times and brought 43 people to safety. Over the course of last year, lifeboats at Youghal, Ballycotton, Crosshaven and Kinsale launched 97 times bringing 137 people to safety. In West Cork, lifeboats at Castletownbere, Baltimore, Union Hall and Courtmacsherry launched 64 times bringing 95 people to safety.
The RNLI has launched Christmas appeal asking for help to continue its lifesaving work at sea. To make a donation visit rnli.org.