New volunteers needed to join RNLI’s fundraising crew along the north coast to help save lives at sea
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Trevor Abernethy is the vice-chair of the Portrush and Portstewart Fundraising branch and the chair of the North Coast Events Group. He first got involved five years ago when he returned home from England: “My initial involvement was when I did my own fundraiser for the RNLI cycling from John o’Groats to Land’s End and raising a couple of thousand pounds.
"I was then approached and asked if I would like to get involved with the fundraising branch. I enjoy coming up with ideas and doing crazy things, so I thought, why not. It was a good opportunity for me returning from England to get to know people and be a part of something that is so integral to the community.”
Trevor is married to Lisa who is a volunteer crew member at Portrush RNLI. When he can he relishes the opportunity to bring the lifeboat and fundraising crews together.
"Last year we got the lifeboat crew involved in our Mayday mile fundraiser by introducing a farmers’ walk putting the crew up against a gym crew and challenging them to carry 60kg. It turned out to be quite competitive and a great way to involve everyone in an enjoyable way. While raising funds is important, being involved is also about integrating with the community,” he said.
"We are constantly looking for people to share new ideas, we are very open with that as it brings different voices to the team. We are also looking for different skillsets."
The RNLI is looking for new volunteers at its Portrush and Portstewart branch, the North Coast Events Group, the Ballymoney branch, Ballymena branch and the Glens
Lifeboat Guild in Cushendall.
Patricia Crossley is the chair of the Ballymoney Fundraising Branch and has been volunteering for the RNLI for 58 years, first as a flag day collector, then as flag day
secretary and now as branch chair.
"I was inspired to get involved by the sinking of the Princess Victoria 70 years ago,” she explains. “We used to go to Donaghadee on our holidays and I remember my father
took us down to Donaghadee on the Sunday following the tragedy. The seriousness of this disaster had such an impact on my life as a young child. I said at that time that
when I was older, I was going to help the lifeboat.”
Almost 60 years on, Patricia is as enthusiastic as ever about the work she does and is keen to build the branch: "I play a small part but it is a part that ensures the RNLI can
make new lifeboats, keep crews safe and ensure volunteers have the right equipment to do their lifesaving work at sea. I would love to see others come along and get caught
up in it, find out about the lifeboat story and see what they can do to help as I did all those years ago when I made a promise to help the RNLI.”
To find out more or to apply, click on this link rnli.org/OneCrewVolunteers