Lough Derg RNLI fundraising branch calls on new volunteers to join its lifesaving crew

Just like the charity’s lifeboats, the RNLI’s fundraising team need a dedicated volunteer crew. Volunteers are at the heart of the RNLI and make up 95% of its people. They are ordinary people who do extraordinary things and without them, the organisation couldn’t continue to save lives at sea or on inland waters.

Lough Derg RNLI fundraising branch calls on new volunteers to join its lifesaving crew
Caleb, Laura and Amy Clarke

But it’s not all about volunteering on lifeboats or at a station, there are many other ways people can give a little or a lot of their time to support the RNLI and make their own lifesaving difference.

Laura Clarke and her husband Caleb have been involved with Lough Derg RNLI for 11 years. Laura is the souvenir secretary on the fundraising branch while Caleb is the treasurer for both the branch and the lifeboat station.

As well as living beside the lake, Laura’s love and admiration for the RNLI was inspired by her late father as she was growing up.

‘My Dad was a great supporter of the RNLI and used to spend his summers in Portrush and Portstewart even though he lived in Clara in Offaly. He had great memories of his time there and he later took up fishing and always had a great respect for the RNLI and I think that is where my passion or grá came from. When he passed away, part of the donations in lieu went to Portrush RNLI and when their new lifeboat arrived, we were invited to go along and see it. When Caleb and I married in 2010, rather than doing wedding favours, we made a donation towards Lough Derg RNLI in memory of my father.’

Laura takes great satisfaction from the volunteering that she does: ‘It is very fulfilling to give back. I was a late learner as a swimmer, and that tinges it even more. I think it is a combination of not being able to swim at an early age and living overlooking Youghal Bay on Lough Derg, that I have a great appreciation of how vital and important it is that we have a service that keeps people safe.’

And Laura is keen to see others get involved: ‘There really is something for everybody no matter how big or small or how much or little time you can give.  You can join the committee or fill in a slot on campaigns such as Mayday, you don’t have to volunteer all year round.’

Mary Creedon, RNLI Fundraising Partnership Lead hails the selfless efforts of people like Laura and Caleb: ‘Without our volunteers, the RNLI simply would not be able to operate the way it does today. With 92% of the RNLI’s income coming from donations, the charity relies on the generosity of supporters and on the dedication of our fundraising volunteers to help raise essential funds. Thousands of community fundraising volunteers organise a wide range of activities and events each year, contributing their time, energy and skills to raise money to save lives at sea and on inland waters. Some of our fundraisers have been volunteering for many years while some just join us for a few months in the year depending on what their commitments allow.

‘We now really need to bolster that support and grow our volunteer fundraising crew. If you like to have fun, enjoy meeting new people and want to join a motivated and enthusiastic team, we encourage you to find out more and apply. You will learn new skills, gain experience and have the rewarding satisfaction of giving back. The RNLI will also provide all the necessary training and support so you can carry out your chosen role effectively.’

To find out more about how you can sign up to be a fundraising volunteer at Lough Derg RNLI or to apply, click on this link rnli.org/OneCrewVolunteers

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