Lough Ree RNLI Treasurer Mr. Vincent Rafter, was recently presented with a Gold Badge at RNLI Annual Presentation of Awards to mark his years of service to the charity.
Picture Credit: RNLI/Tara Murphy
Mr Rafter was presented with his award by RNLI Chairman Charles Hunter-Pease. Vincent has been the Treasurer of Athlone/Lough Ree RNLI since 1990 and a driving force in the development of the Lough Ree Lifeboat Station. Under his stewardship the branch has gone from strength to strength and his dedication, enthusiasm, leadership and organisation is an inspiration to all. He is always there to encourage, give advice and most of all to promote the positive image of the organisation at all times. He organises the annual Flag Day and supermarket collections and is a huge support to all involved with the RNLI in Athlone.
The Awards, which were held at the Guinness Storehouse last Friday, saw 56 individual awards presented to volunteers from across the country. 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.
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.