Portaferry Lifeboat - News
RNLI Lifeboat House, The Strand, Portaferry, Co Down, Northern Ireland

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21 September 2017 - Portavogie Rangers Football Club support the RNLI Respect the Water campaign
10 April 2017 - Paintings by Duxy Leahy in memory of the crew of Helicopter Rescue 116
1 April 2017 - RNLI Lifeboat 'Voluntary Worker' retires
13 November 2016 - Pat Browne represents fundraisers at London's Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday
January 2016 - Tyne class 'Voluntary Worker' is still saving lives
9 November 2015 - Margaret Barbour retires
13 September 2015 - Down Cruising Club presents cheque for £500
25 June 2015 - Awards for Mike Miall, Vera Murphy & Susan Brewster
23 April 2015 - Bernadette Rogers retires as Hon Secretary of Guild
16 April 2015 - Comber Rifle Club present cheque to the RNLI
21 March 2015 - Photos of the Portaferry RNLI 35th Anniversary Ball
30 January 2015 - Eveleigh Brownlow invested with MBE
1 November 2014 - Eddie and Marie McGee's years of service recognised
13 June 2014 - Eveleigh Brownlow awarded the MBE
22 May 2014 - Leonard Lawson DLA receives Gold Medal at UK Awards
22 May 2014 - RNLI London Awards highlights Northern Ireland rescue
1 February 2014 - Isabel Hood appointed LMG Chairman
6 January 2014 - Tidal surge less than predicted
30 September 2013 - Former shore crew member now a 2nd Coxswain
27 September 2013 - Fisherman meets his rescuers
7 August 2013 - Kirkistown Castle Golf Club raises £2,865 for the RNLI
3 August 2013 - Six RNLI lifeboats in joint exercise on the Irish Sea
12 July 2013 - Mongol Rally raises funds for Portaferry RNLI
12 June 2013 - Ann Miall receives a Certificate of Thanks
7 March 2013 - Paul Boissier, RNLI Chief Executive, visits Portaferry RNLI
29 December 2012 - Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medals presented
12 September 2012 - 'Chill at the Mill' raises £1,640.60 for the RNLI
8 August 2012 - RNLI Golf Day at KCGC raises £3,342
June 2012 - Passover Dinner and Lenten Appeal raises £2,000
June 2012 - Orange Order funds lifejackets
24 May 2012 - Dr Daryl Birkett receives the RNLI's thanks
13 April 2012 - The historic 'Herbert John' is launched again
4 December 2011 - Crew Members receive 'Certificates of Service'
10 August 2011 - Kirkistown Castle Golf Club - Lifeboat Day results
23 June 2011 - Margaret Barbour receives a Certificate of Thanks
9 April 2011 - Churches and Sunday Schools visit Portaferry RNLI
1 January 2011 - Sammy Gordon appointed as DLA
17 December 2010 - Gabriel Rogers retires
11 August 2010 - Kirkistown Castle Golf Club
26 June 2010 - Billy Ellison receives Statuette and Certificate of Service
5 June 2010 -  New Boathouse opening & 'Blue Peter V' Naming Ceremony
1 June 2010 - Portaferry RNLI Boathouse Appeal
31 May 2009 - Joan Peacock, Jean Keenan & Mike Miall receive awards
27 May 2010 - Pat Browne receives RNLI Gold Badge
2 April 2009 - Interview with Leonard Lawson DLA
18 August 2008 - Young Farmers raise £2,500 for new Boathouse
May 2008 - Dr David Peacock awarded a RNLI Gold Medal
January 2008 - Coast Review Committee visits Portaferry
9 June 2007 - Tommy Mason and Anne Marie Mahon abseil down BT Tower and raise £500
1 January 2007 - Awards for Mrs Eveleigh Brownlow and Mr John Murray
23 November 2006 - Simon Rogers awarded the RNLI's 'Thanks of the Institution on Vellum' for his role in the saving one person and the search for missing crew of the fishing vessel Greenhill November 2004 - Portaferry RNLI 25th Anniversary Ball
15 November 2006 - Admiral Sir Jock Slater visits Poratferry Lifeboat

June 2004 - BBC Bargain Hunt comes to Portaferry

1 November 2006 - John Murray & Dessie Rogers awarded 'Blue Peter Gold Badge'

May 2004 - Peter Nicholson CBE (Chairman RNLI) and his wife (Lesley-Jane) visit Portaferry Station
6 October 2006 - John Murray & Dessie Rogers Retire

May 2004 - Jim Brown receives 'Certificate of Thanks'

9 August 2006 - KCGC 'Lifeboat Day' raises over £4,000 June 2003 - Crew receive Queen's Jubilee Medals
8 June 2006 - President of Ireland opens new Ireland Headquarters of the RNLI May 2003 - 2002 service record
18 May 2006 - RNLI Gold Badge awarded to the late Dr Billy Brown is presented by HRH The Princess Alexandra. January 2003 - Secretary of State visits station
8t March 2006 - It is with regret that we record the death of our esteemed President Dr William (Billy) Brown. August 2002 - Golf event raises £20,000
December 2005 - Billy Brown awarded RNLI gold badge June 2002 - Lea Bradshaw receives her Silver Badge and Certificate
November 2005 - Letter of thanks re search for missing boy 21 May 2002 - Newtownards Round Table visit station
October 2005 - Tsunami relief 8 May 2002 - James Fitzsimmons receiving a Certificate of Service
26 May 2005 - Marie McGee & Jonathan Brownlee receive Certificate of Thanks  
19 May 2005 - Bernadette Rogers receives Gold Badge

May 2002 - Exercise with Strangford Ferry

17 February 2005 - Guild raise over £31,000 17 May 2001 - Eveleigh Brownlow honoured
11 Dec 2004 - 15 Nautical Mile Walk raises £3,884

9 May 2001 - Fundraisers efforts recognised

February 2005 - Guyana Flood Relief

1 May 2001 - Portaferry Lifeboat 21st Birthday

February 2005 - Tsunami Fund Raising March 2001 - Freedom of the Borough of Ards

21 September 2017

Portavogie Rangers Football Club support the
RNLI 'Respect the Water' campaign

Photo: Portaferry RNLI

Kenny, Paul and Alan (1st, 2nd & 4th L to R) from Portavogie Rangers Football Club unveil their club's 2 year support for the RNLI 'Respect the Water' campaign

Portavogie Rangers Football Club have chosen the RNLI 'Respect the Water' campaign as their chosen charity for the next two seasons with the support of local fishermen and seafood processors.

As part of this support two teams (1 senior and 1 junior) will display the 'Respect the Water' logo on their team shirts.

The idea to support the RNLI came from the Club in the hope that the RNLI water safety campaign will be spread near and far.

(Note: On 18 September 2013 a local Portavogie fisherman, Sam Cully, was rescued from drowning by the Portaferry Lifeboat after his fishing boat sank.  For Sam's story click here)

 

Photo: Portaferry RNLI

Portavogie Youth Football Club also made a visit to the lifeboat station to learn about water safety and the lifesaving work of the RNLI and the Portaferry Lifeboat 'Blue Peter V'

9 April 2017

Local artist Darren Leahy paints in memory of the crew of Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116

Photo:Portaferry RNLI

On 15 June 2010 Darren (Duxy) Leahy from Killyleagh was rescued in Marlfield Bay by Portaferry Lifeboat when his power boat 'Spirit' developed engine failure.

When an Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 went down off Blacksod Island, County Mayo, on the early morning of 14 March 2017 with the tragic loss of life of all four crew members, Darren decided to paint three pictures in memoriam.  

At the time of the disaster Rescue 116 had been supporting communications with the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 which had been evacuating an injured fisherman from a fishing vessel located in the Atlantic, 160 miles west of Blacksod Island.

One of Duxy's pictures will be presented to the Irish Coast Guard, one to Mourne Mountain Rescue and one to Portaferry Lifeboat Station.   


Photo: Portaferry RNLI

Brian Bailie, Portaferry Lifeboat Operations Manager (pointing to the record of Daren's rescue) and Pat Browne, Chairman of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild, accept one of Darren's paintings in memory of the crew of Rescue 116.

1 April 2017

Lifeboat 47-031
'Voluntary Worker' retires

Selsey Lifeboat, 47-031, leaves Selsey Lifeboat Station for the last time

Selsey Lifeboat 47-031, 'Voluntary Worker', retired from service on 1 April 2017 after serving 29 years with the RNLI.

'Voluntary Worker' was named in Poole on 23 September 1988 by the late Jess Brown from Portaferry Lifeboat Guild.

During her years in service she was used in the RNLI's relief fleet and finally became the Selsey Lifeboat in February 2006 where she remained in service until 1 April 2017.

For more information on 'Voluntary Worker' click here

13 November 2016

Pat Browne
represents RNLI Fundraisers at London's Cenotaph

Pat Browne, Chairman of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild was chosen the represent RNLI Fundraisers throughout the UK and Ireland at the annual Remembrance Sunday Service at London's Cenotaph.

Pat was accompanied by 16 RNLI crew members representing stations throughout the UK and Ireland

Representing Northern Ireland at London's Cenotaph were Derek Rea, Station Mechanic (Larne), Frank Healy, Coxswain (Larne), Pat Browne, Chairman of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild and Rory Hoy, Helmsman (Enniskillen)

Pat Browne with 16 crew members from lifeboat stations throughout the UK and Ireland who represented the RNLI at the Annual Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph in London.

January 2016

Voluntary Worker
is still saving lives

Named at the RNLI Headquarters in Poole on 23 September 1988 by the late Jess Brown from Portaferry Lifeboat Guild she is still saving lives at Selsey RNLI Lifeboat Station.  She is expected to be retired from service early 2017 after almost 30 years in service.

For more information about 'Voluntary Worker' click here

 

9 November 2015

Margaret Barbour retires

Photo: Pat Browne - RNLI

Margaret Barbour, Asst Honorary Secretary and a member of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild for over 10 years, has recently retired from office. 

To mark Margaret's retirement members of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild invited her and her husband to 'Afternoon Tea' in the lifeboat station during which she was was presented with an anchor & chain silver necklace by the Guild in their thanks for her years of service.  

Margaret is a founding member of Donaghadee Lifeboat Guild which is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Photo: Pat Browne - RNLI

Margaret, accompanied by her husband Sam, was presented with a gift from the Guild by Mrs Eveleigh Brownlow (left), President of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild.

13 September 2015

Down Cruising Club
raises
£500 for RNLI

Photo: Jeff Marshall

Down Cruising Club's President, Gerry Mateer, presented a cheque to the RNLI for £500 during the club's 'European Heritage Open Day' held on 13 September aboard their clubhouse, Lightship Petrel.   

In addition a RNLI shop manned by members of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild sold RNLI Souveniers to members and visitors that raised £120.  Receiving the donation on behalf of the RNLI were Portaferry Lifeboat crew members L to R Simon Rogers, Paul Mageean and Mark Stevenson.

25 June 2015

RNLI - Northern Ireland Awards

The Annual RNLI Awards for 2015 were held in the Belfast Titanic Banqueting Suite.

Presenting the awards was RNLI Chairman Charles Hunter-Pease

Mike Miall, Vice Chairman and Treasurer of Portaferry and District Lifeboat Guild receives a RNLI Bronze Badge from Charles Hunter-Pease

Vera Murphy, a long standing fund-raiser of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild, receives a 'Certificate of Thanks on Vellum' from RNLI Chairman, Charles Hunter-Pease

Susan Brewster, a long-time supporter of Portaferry Lifeboat Station, receives a 'Certificate of Thanks on Vellum' from RNLI Chairman, Charles Hunter-Pease

23 April 2015

Bernadette Rogers retires

Bernadette Rogers, a founding member of the Portaferry Lifeboat Ladies Guild, has retired from office after 35+ years of service to the RNLI.

Bernadette served for many years as the Honorary Secretary of the Portaferry Lifeboat Ladies Guild that was established in 1980.   The Guild was renamed Portaferry Lifeboat Guild in 1985 to encourage male participation and subsequently changed to Portaferry and District Lifeboat Guild to reflect the wider area covered by the station.

Photo: Portaferry RNLI

Bernadette Rogers (right) is presented with a flower arrangement and a commerative plaque (the last of 5 produced in 2010 to comemorate the opening of the new Portaferry Lifeboat Station boathouse) by Pat Browne (Chairman) and Eveleigh Brownlow (President) of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild

Bernadette was awarded the RNLI Gold Badge in 2005 in recognition of her 25 years of service which was presented to her in May of that year by the RNLI President, HRH The Duke of Kent, during the Institution's Annual General Meeting held in London.

Bernadette's husband, Desmond, was the stations first Helmsman in 1979 when the RNLI established a trial station at Portaferry and he was subsequently appointed Chief Helmsman when the Portaferry Lifeboat Station was first established in May 1980.  Since that time their three children have served in the capacity of Chief Helmsman, Helmsman and as a crew member.

Over the past 35 years many of the station's life-saving services and successful RNLI fund-raising events have involved the 'Rogers' family. 

Bernadette Rogers pictured in 1981 (seated front row - 2nd from right) with members of Portaferry Lifeboat Ladies Guild. Seated beside Bernadette is the Station's first President, Sir John Andrews.

Portaferry Lifeboat Station and those who live in the associated sea areas covered by the station owe Bernadette and the 'Rogers' family a debt of gratitude that can never be fully repaid.  

16 April 2015

Comber Rifle Club donate to the RNLI

Photo: RNLI - Sam Barbour

Comber Rifle Club held a dance on Easter Tuesday at which they raised £900 for the RNLI.  Pictured above are Sidney and Ann Semple when they visited Portaferry Lifeboat Station and presented a cheque for the proceeds to Margaret Barbour of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild.

21 March 2015

Portaferry RNLI 35th Anniversary Ball

The Portaferry Lifeboat 35th Anniversary Ball was held at the La Mon Hotel & Country Club on Saturday 21 March.

Photo- Newtownards Chronicle

Some of the crew members who attended the ball were (L to R - front row), Brian Bailie, Graham Edgar, Marko Petric (L to R - back row) Chris Adair, Colin Conway, Fiona Magee, Sinead Breen, Ryan Miskelly & Mark Stevenson

 

Photo: Newtownards Chronicle

Some of the Portaferry & District Lifeboat guild who attended were (L to R) Wendy Conway, Joan Peacock Ann Miall, Mike Miall, Eveleigh Brownlow, Bernie Rogers and Pat Browne

30 January 2015

Eveleigh Brownlow invested by HRH The Prince of Wales with MBE at Buckingham Palace

 

Photo: RNLI - Melissa Seppings

Mrs Eveleigh Brownlow, President of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild, accompanied by several members of her family, attended an investiture at Buckingham Palace on 30 January 2015 at which she was invested with the MBE by HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales.  

Mrs Brownlow was awarded the MBE for her work in the local community.  She has already received the RNLI Gold Badge and Bar for her many years of fundraising for the former RNLI Cloughey/Portavogie lifeboat stations and the Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Station that will celebrate 35 years of life-saving service in May this year.

1 November 2014

Eddie and Marie McGee's many years of fundraising work for the RNLI is recognised

Photo: David Peacock - RNLI

Marie McGee and her husband, Capt Eddie McGee, have received the thanks of Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Station and the Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild during the annual Portaferry Lifeboat Crew Dinner that was held at the Portaferry Hotel on 1 November 2014.

Marie and Eddie have recently retired from membership of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild after many years of dedicated service during which they have both been very involved in the raising of hundreds of thousands of £'s for the RNLI.

Capt Eddie McGee, until recently, was the treasurer of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild and served as such for over 15 years.

Marie and Eddie are pictured above with Mrs Pat Browne, Chairman of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild (1st Lto R) and Mrs Eveleigh Brownlow, President of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild. (3rd L to R).   

The presentation included a special commemorative plate that was commissioned for the opening of the new Portaferry Boathouse in 2010 and for which Marie and Eddie were involved in raising significant funds.

13 June 2014

Eveleigh Brownlow awarded the MBE

Mrs Eveleigh Brownlow, President of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild, has been awarded the MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours for voluntary services to her community.  

An active fundraiser for over 35 years at Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Station, and in earlier years for the Cloughey & Portavogie RNLI lifeboat stations, the award also recognises other voluntary work including her many years of volunteering to secure the continuation of horse racing at Downpatrick Race Course and in recognition of which Mrs Brownlow is currently the society's Patron.  

In the 1970's the Downpatrick horse racing course was threatened with closure due to a government decision to restrict limited grant aid to only one race course in Northern Ireland.   At that time Eveleigh Brownlow and her late husband, Major William Brownlow, became closely involved in the formation of the 'Downpatrick Race Supporters Club' that started raising funds which were eventually sufficient to secure the survival of horse racing at the Downpatrick race course.  

In recognition and in memory of the voluntary work by the late Major Brownlow, who had been Chairman of 'Downpatrick' for 35 years, a new 'Brownlow' hospitality suite was opened at Downpatrick Race Course by Mrs Brownlow in March 2014.   

The Investiture of Mrs Brownlow's MBE will take place in London later this year.

22 May 2014

Leonard Lawson awarded RNLI Gold Badge

Leonard (Lenny) Lawson has been awarded a RNLI Gold Badge in recognition of his long service record for the RNLI.

The award was presented during the RNLI National Awards ceremony, held at the Barbican Centre, London, following which the rescue of a fisherman by Portaferry Lifeboat, in which Leonard was involved as a DLA, formed the main feature (see below) of the 2014 national awards ceremony.

Leonard was one of the founding crew members of the Portaferry Lifeboat and he played a very significant role through Portaferry Sailing Club in encouraging the RNLI to trial a lifeboat station in Portaferry, resulting in the RNLI trialling a lifeboat in Portaferry in 1979.

Following successful trials the RNLI decided to establish a lifeboat station in Portaferry in May 1980.

Leonard's late mother (Anne) was instrumental in encouraging the BBC 'Blue Peter' children's programme to fund a lifeboat at Portaferry.   

During the following years three 'Blue Peter V' lifeboats have been sponsored by BBC 'Blue Peter', resulting in the saving of many lives.

22 May 2014

RNLI London Awards ceremony highlights Northern Ireland Rescue

Lifeboats News Release

Date: 26/05/2014

Author: Niamh Stephenson - RNLI Public Relations Manager Ireland

The RNLI Annual Presentation of Awards was held last Thursday (22 May 2014) in the Barbican Theatre in London and in an unusual move the charity departed from the awards ceremony to look at the story behind one rescue.   

That rescue involved Northern Ireland man Sam Cully whose life was saved on Wednesday 18 September when the boat he was fishing in sank rapidly in a Force 6 off the coast of County Down. That day RNLI lifeboat crew from Portaferry and Donaghadee along with the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 were involved in his rescue but there were other groups and organisations behind the story.

(For more information and more photos of the rescue click here)   (For detailed information of the service record click here)

Photo credit: RNLI/Jon Stokes

Finale party: (Left to Right)   Sam Cully and his wife Marie-Clare, Nigel Blazeby, Chair of the Fishing Industry Safety Group, Jane Goodwin and Tony Brown, Mulligan, Maurice Lake, Fisherman's Mission, Dr Lynn Gilmore, Seafish, Dick James, Northern Ireland Fish Producers Organisation, John Speers, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Frankie Horne and John Fulton, RNLI Fishing Safety Managers, Philip McNamara, Coxswain Donaghadee RNLI, Lenny Lawson DLA Portaferry RNLI, Graham Egar DLA Portaferry RNLI, Marko Petric Helmsman Portaferry RNLI and Sinead Breen and Paul Mageen crew members from Portaferry RNLI.

While Sam waited for help to arrive he was able to stay afloat wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) that he had received from a grant-aided scheme.

The funds were secured from the European Fisheries Fund, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, ASDA, the Northern Ireland Fish Producers Organisation and Seafish.

For the first time the RNLI brought everyone who was involved in saving Mr Cully's life together on one stage.

At the time of his rescue Sam Cully commented: 'I was only able to swim five or ten metres or so, and even then the wind and swell were washing me away from the shore. The boat went down so quickly, and I was so relieved to find the lifejacket doing exactly what I was told it would do. I cannot thank all those organisations involved enough.

RNLI Chairman Charles Hunter-Pease introduced the following groups and organisations who all played a part in the rescue onto the Barbican stage; the Maritime Coast Agency's Fishing Industry Safety Group, the Northern Ireland Fish Prodcuers Organisation, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the RNLI's Fishing Safety team, lifejacket and personal floatation manufacturers Mullion, Seafish and the Fisherman's Mission.

The two RNLI lifeboat crews who responded to the emergency after being alerted by the coastguard were Portaferry and Donaghadee RNLI and they too were represented. Coxswain Philip McNamara was present from Donaghadee lifeboat station and Portafery RNLI were represented by Deputy Launching Authority Lennie Lawson, shore crewmember Graham Edgar and lifeboat crew Marko Petrick, Sinead Breen and Paul Mageean. Luke Murphy who was also on the lifeboat crew that day was unable to be present.

Speaking after the event Donaghadee RNLI Coxswain Philip McNamara said, 'It was an honour to be present at the ceremony and surrounded by so many people working together to help fishermen stay safe at sea. This was a life saved on the day of the rescue but Sam gave himself every chance by wearing a life jacket and being prepared. Everyone on that stage was a lifesaver.'

Lennie Lawson, Portaferry RNLI Deputy Launching Authority added, 'It was a very moving occasion. It was lovely to be acknowledged in such good company. So many people work behind the scenes in the RNLI to make sure our lifeboats get to sea and we all do it voluntarily. In this instance the number of people behind the scenes was huge. This scheme has been very important to the fishing community and it shows that by working together we can save lives.'

The evening ended with an emotional video tribute by Sam Cully who then surprised the group on stage and the audience present by coming out with his wife Marie-Clare to thank everyone present in person.

1 February 2014

Isabel Hood appointed as Chairman of Portaferry's 'Lifeboat Management Group'

Isabel Hood has been appointed by the RNLI as Chairman of Portaferry Lifeboat Stations 'Lifeboat Management Group' and takes over from David Russell who has served 10 years in the position.  

Isabel is currently Chairman of the Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership and is also involved with various organisations including the Mourne Heritage Trust, the Northern Ireland Enviromental Link and the Open University.  She is a keen and experienced sailor.

During David Russell's watch the Station saw many improvements, including the building of a new enlarged boathouse to house a new Atlantic 85 lifeboat, 'Blue Peter V'.

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6 January 2014

RNLI Flood Rescue teams on standby in Portaferry

Photo: RNLI - Portaferry

RNLI Flood Rescue teams were sent to Portaferry, Co. Down on 6 January in response to a flood alert along the coastline of the Ards Peninsula.   

Seas were forecast to rise well above the predicted high-water level due to a combination of spring tides, low barometric pressure and southerly storm force winds that had persisted over several days.   These combined events resulted in tidal surges along the Ard's Peninsula, in Strangford Lough and elsewhere along Irish Sea and Atlantic coastlines.  

The Strand, Portaferry, 6 January 2014  -  Photo: from Portaferry Gala website

Fortunately, winds in the area moderated prior to high water and the expected tidal surge along the County Down coast was not as high as forecast.   A sea level of 0.7m above the predicted high-water level was recorded at Bangor, County Down, slightly less than the 0.9m recorded on 4 January when damage was caused by large breaking waves to coastal roads near Ballywalter and Greyabbey.

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30 September 2013

Former Portaferry Lifeboat shore-crew member appointed as
2nd Coxswain of Douglas Lifeboat

Photo: RNLI - Mike Howland - LPO @ Douglas Lifeboat Station

'Lifeboats' news release 30/09/2013             

Author: Mike Howland - Douglas RNLI Lifeboat Station

Recently qualified Deputy Second Coxswain, Graeme Cushnie, was presented with his badge of office, his Coxswain’s hat, by Lifeboat Operations Manager of Douglas Lifeboat Station, Mary Corran, following this morning’s (29 September) lifeboat exercise.

Graeme, who began his career as a Marine Biologist and then moved into teaching and is currently Headteacher at Ballaugh Primary School, explained his involvement as a RNLI volunteer:

‘I've always felt a connection to the sea having being raised in the village of Kircubbin on the shores of Strangford Lough and learning to sail a rickety old Mirror dinghy with my Dad. There's nothing quite like messing around in boats and as a child I enjoyed being on, in and beside the sea.

It wasn't until 1989 that I became officially involved with the RNLI, joining the Portaferry shore crew while on a placement at the QUB Marine Laboratory. Then, in 1991, while at The Marine Laboratory in Port Erin, I signed up to help with the Rother Class lifeboat Osman Gabriel. In 1992 she was replaced by an Atlantic inshore lifeboat and by 1996 I was passed out as a helmsman. There I stayed until October 2008, learning a great deal from those around me, when I then moved to Douglas.

It was refreshing to start from the bottom again, learning the ropes on the Tyne Class all-weather lifeboat, The Sir William Hillary, which brings us up to the present day.

None of this would have been possible without the support of the people at each of the lifeboat stations, my employer and of course Lisa, my wife who is the only person I know that can sleep through multiple pager alerts.’

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27 September 2013

Fisherman meets his rescuers

A fisherman, Sam Cully, from Portavogie, County Down, whose fishing boat sank on 18 September 2013 has visited Portaferry Lifeboat Station to thank his rescuers.

Photo: RNLI - Bernard Roddy

Sam's fishing boat sank quickly with little time to send a 'Mayday'.  

His 'Mayday' call was picked up by Coastguards monitoring Channel 16 resulting in the immediate launch of Donaghadee and Portaferry Lifeboats and the tasking of an Irish SAR Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 116.

Photo: RNLI - Bernard Roddy


Helmsman, Marko Petric, and crew members Paul Mageen, Luke Murphy with Sam Cully
(Not included: Sinead Breen who was also a crew member - Sinead was a crew member on 19 January 2006 during a service when one fisherman was rescued off Ardglass and for which she received a RNLI Vellum Certificate for her part in the fisherman's rescue and the following search for his two missing colleagues)


After 45 minutes in the water, Sam was found in a cold and distressed state by the crew (above) of Portaferry Lifeboat, 'Blue Peter V', who were the first to reach the search area.   Helmsman, Marko Petric entered the water to assist in getting Sam on board the lifeboat and he was subsequently flown by the Irish Coast Guard search and rescue helicopter 116 to hospital in Belfast.

Fortunately, Sam was wearing a lifejacket that had been supplied to him two weeks earlier by the Fishermen's Mission through funding from Seafish, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development through the European Fisheries Fund, the Northern Ireland Fish Producers Association and the supermarket ASDA, and with the support of the Maritime Coastguard Agency and the RNLI.

For more detailed information about the rescue please click here

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7 August 2013

RNLI Golf Day at Kirkistown Castle Golf Club

The Kirkistown Castle Golf Club's 'RNLI Golf Day' has raised the magnificant sum of £2,865 for the RNLI.   

Our thanks to the Captain and Council of Kirkistown Castle Golf Club and to KCGC members for the all-day use of the course and of the member's Clubhouse and to Billy Rogan for organising the event once again.

 

RESULTS

Ladies
1st    N Waring
2nd  Anne Warnock
3rd   Valerie McKenzie

 

Photo: RNLI - Pat Browne

Gents
1st   Graham McKenzie
2nd  T Davis
3rd   Harry McKenzie

 

Photo: RNLI - Pat Browne

Ladies Team
Patsy McGoldrick Team

 

Photo: RNLI - Pat Browne

Gents Team
Bill Miscampbell Team

 

Photo: RNLI - Pat Browne

Mixed Team
Harry McKenzie & Valerie McKenzie Team

 

Photo: RNLI - Pat Browne

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3 August 2013

Six RNLI lifeboats from Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man took part in an exercise on the Irish Sea earlier today to simulate the rescue of 30 persons from small passenger vessel that was sinking.

Co-ordinated by Belfast Coastguard, from their Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Bangor, County Down, the successful exercise began at 09:00 and concluded at 12:45.

Lifeboats from Donaghadee (County Down), Newcastle (County Down), Peel (Isle of Man), Portaferry (County Down), Port Erin (Isle of Man) and Port St Mary (Isle of Man) participated in the joint exercise.

The exercise follows on the sinking off the County Cork coast of Ireland of the tall ship Astrid on 28 July when 30 persons were rescued by four RNLI lifeboats.

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12 July 2013

Around the World trip will raise funds for the RNLI

Photo: RNLI - Pat Browne

Stuart Browne and James Wood leaving Portaferry to join the Mongol Rally

Stuart Browne and James Wood are participating in the Mongol Rally which starts at Bodiam Castle, East Sussex, on 15 July.  This year the rally has chosen 'Cool Earth' as its primary charity for which participants must raise a minimum of £500.  

Participants are also entitled to fundraise for an additional charity and James and Stuart have chosen Portaferry RNLI.

The two 'Adventurists' will join other participants at Bodiam Castle on 14 July and will start their drive the following day to Mongolia, a journey of 10,000 miles through Europe and Asia. Their journey to Mongolia will take them across 5 mountain ranges and 3 deserts.  Vehicles in the rally must have an engine capacity under 1,200cc and be less than 9 years old.

To find out how much James and Stuart have raised for the RNLI so far please click here

Following the completion of the Mongol Rally in late August, James and Stuart plan to travel eastwards to the United States before returning to Northern Ireland.

1 September 2013 - Stuart and James have reached Mongolia and are now travelling East through Asia with the intent of crossing the United States of America before returning home in 2014.

December 2013 - Stuart and James have now completed their 'Round the World' trip on their trike motorcycle and have returned home from the USA. Their 'trike' has recently been shipped back to Northern Ireland from the USA.  

It is still not too late to donate so PLEASE click here

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12 June 2012

Ann Miall receives RNLI Certificate of Thanks

Photo: RNLI - Pat Browne

Ann Miall has been presented with a framed 'RNLI Certificate of Thanks' during the recent
Northern Ireland RNLI Awards in recognition of her years of fundraising for the RNLI.  

The presentation, held in the Great Hall of Queen's University Belfast on 12 June, was made by Admiral the Lord Boyce, Chairman of the RNLI.

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7 March 2013

RNLI Chief Executive visits Portaferry RNLI

Photo: Lynne Gilmore

Vice Admiral Paul Boissier CB, Chief Executive of the RNLI, paid a visit to Portaferry RNLI during his recent visit to Northern Ireland.  Paul Boissier (left) is pictured with John Murray (President Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Station), Mrs Eveleigh Brownlow (President Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild) and Brian Bailee (Lifeboat Operations Manager - Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Station)

 

Photo: Lynne Gilmore

Crew, Shore Crew, Fundraisers and the Station's management team welcomed Paul Boissier and his colleagues to Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Station.

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29 December 2012

Lifeboat and Shore Crew receive Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medals

Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant for County Down, David Lindsay, with (seated l. to r.) John Murray; Station President, David Russell; Chairman Station Management Group, Brian Bailie; Lifeboat Operations Manager, and Cadet Warrant Officer Mathew Stewart who accompanied the Lord-Lieutenant.  
Standing (l. to r.) are 8 of the 12 awardees; John Murray Jnr, Marko Petric, Colin Hagan, Simon Rogers, Graeme Ellison, Jonathan Brownlee, Colin Conway and Jeremy Rogers

All photos: RNLI - Jim Brown

Lifeboat and shore crew members at Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Station have been awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for their many years of life-saving work.

Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant for the County of Down, David Lindsay, presented the medals to the awardees at a function held in the RNLI lifeboat station at Portaferry.

Presenting the awards, the Lord-Lieutenant thanked the awardees for their many years of life-saving work and congratulated them on their well-deserved Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medals.

Awardees of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal were; Brian Bailie, Shinead Breen, Jonathan Brownlee, Colin Conway, Graeme Ellison, Colin Hagan, Jackie Harrison, Leonard Lawson, John Murray, Marko Petric, Jeremy Rogers and Simon Rogers.

Following the presentations a finger buffet and refreshments were provided, courtesy of the Portaferry Hotel.

 

The Lord-Lieutenant, Brian Lindsay, is introduced to lifeboat and shore crew by Brian Bailie, Portaferry Lifeboat Station's 'Lifeboat Operations Manager'

 

 

 

Brian Bailee, LOM, introduces fund-raisers, crew family members and guests

 

 

Jonathan Brownlee, Station Lifeboat Training Co-ordinator, was one of those
presented with a
Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal whilst one of his daughters watched in the background and applauded her Dad.

 

David Russell, Chairman of the station's 'Lifeboat Management Group', expressed the Station's thanks to the Lord-Lieutenant , David Lindsay, for presenting the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medals

 

Portaferry Lifeboat crew and shore helpers took time out to have a photograph with with their colleague Tommy Mason (front centre), a recently retired crew member (RNLI Gold service badge with Bar) and an ardent fund-raiser for the station over many years.

All Photos: RNLI - Jim Brown

Tommy with two old colleagues from the past

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12 September 2012

'Chill at the Mill' raises £1,640.60 for the RNLI

Dorothy and Gerald McKeating host an annual 'Chill at the Mill' party at their home in County Down in aid of local charities.  This year their chosen charity was the RNLI.

Gerald McKeating said that this year's party in August, organised for family and friends, would not have been such a success were it not for the kind donations from local tradesmen and the musicians who entertained everyone throughout the evening.  As well as an excellent Bar-B-Q, the funds raised were further enhanced by a tombola and a raffle.

On Thursday 12th September Dorothy and Gerald McKeating visited Portaferry Lifeboat Station to present a cheque to the RNLI for the monies raised by their charity event.   Tommy Mason, a former lifeboat crew member with over 30 years service, accepted the donation of £1,640.60 on behalf of the RNLI.

 

Photo: RNLI - Mike Miall

Tommy Mason, from Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Station, receives a cheque to the RNLI for £1,640.60 from Dorothy and Gerald McKeating and their family.  

 

Photo: RNLI - Mike Miall

Some of the many who supported the 'Chill at the Mill' fundraising event for the RNLI

 

Photo: RNLI - Pat Browne

Mike Miall (centre), Vice-Chairman of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild, with Gerald and Dorothy McKeating during their 'Chill at the Mill' fundraising event

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8 August 2012

Kirkistown Castle Golf Club

'Lifeboat Day' - 8 August 2012

sponsored by the

Progressive Building Society

raised £3,342 for the RNLI

Results

Gents

1st: John Dynes - 30 points (Captain, Kirkistown Castle GC)

2nd: Lewis Dickinson - 38 points - better back 9 (Kirkistown Castle GC)

3rd: Raymond Craig - 38 points (Edenmore GC)

Ladies

1st: Heather Patterson - 36 points - better back 9 (Edenmore GC)

2nd: Marie McGratten - 36 points (Kirkistown Castle GC)

3rd: Sandra Davis - 34 points (Dunmurry GC)

 

Front Nine - Herbie Taylor - 24 points

Back Nine - N Warnock - 20 points - count back

 

Team Prizes

Gents - The Max Team

Ladies - Margaret Patsy Team

Mixed - Taylor & Warnock

 

Thanks to everyone who tee'd off and helped make the 'Lifeboat Day' such a success.

&

a BIG thank-you to Billy Rogan (Event Organiser) and the Captain, Lady Captain and Council of Kirkistown Castle Golf Club for a great fun and fund-raising day.

 

Mrs Eveleigh Brownlow, President of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild, presented the prizes.

(All photos: RNLI - Pat Browne)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Church members raise £2,000

Church members from the parishes of Greyabbey, Kircubbin and of Ballyphillip & Ardquin have raised the magnificent sum of £2,000 for the RNLI as the result of their 'Passover Dinner' and 'Lenten Appeal'.

Mrs Eveleigh Brownlow, President of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild, receives a cheque for £2,000 from Rev Gill Withers during an 'open evening' in Portaferry Lifeboat Station.  Included in the picture are Mrs Pat Browne, Chairman of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild and members from the three parishes

Portaferry Lifeboat Guild was tasked to raise £4,000 for the 'Lifejackets for Lifesavers Appeal' and with the support of the local community, churches, sailing clubs and other organisations has now more than exceeded this target.   The additional monies raised will be used to purchase lifejackets for other Lifeboat Stations that are located in remote locations in very small communities who are unable to raise sufficient funds.

Photo: RNLI - Mike Mial

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Orange Order funds two 'Lifejackets for Lifesavers'

Members of the Orange Order have raised sufficient funds to purchase two of the new lifejackets that have been specifically designed for use by RNLI crew members.

Leonard Lawson, DLA, and Mrs Pat Browne, Chairman of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild welcome representatives of the Orange Order to Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Station who raised funds to purchase new lifejackets designed for use by RNLI crew members.

Photo: RNLI - Mike Miall

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Daryl Birkett receives the 'Thanks of the RNLI'

Daryl Birkett receives a Portaferry Branch 'Certificate of Thanks' from Frances Black

Photo: RNLI - Colin Watson

RNLI Salutation: Dr Daryl Anne Birkett - Portaferry Branch Certificate of Thanks

"Daryl Birkett has helped Portaferry Lifeboat Guild for almost 20 years since she came to work at Queens University Marine Biology Station. She is the star of the Easter collection at the Ferry boat queues, working longer hours than most despite being a very busy person. She also helps out at other events, such as the Gig at the Brig last year where she again demonstrated her skill with a collecting bucket."

Photo: RNLI - Pat Browne

Dr Daryl Birkett, a senior member of the research staff of the Queens University research laboratory at Portaferry, Co Down, has received a well deserved supporters award from the RNLI for almost 20 years assisting in street and other collections on behalf of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild.

Daryl is pictured above with Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild members, Mrs Pat Browne (Chairman), Mrs Eveleigh Brownlow (President) and Mrs Joan Peacock (Souvenir Secretary)

Daryl's certificate was presented by the award winning Irish female singer Frances Black during a ceremony held in The Great Hall, Queens University Belfast, on 24 May 2012.

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13 April 2012

The 'Herbert John', ON 825, is launched again

One of Cloughey Lifeboat Station's historic lifeboats was launched again at Donaghadee Marina earlier today.

The now magnificently restored RNLI Liverpool Class lifeboat, the Herbert John, ON 825, last saw service at the Cloughey Lifeboat Station in 1952.  She was stationed at Cloughey between 1939 and 1952 and was involved in the saving of 67 lives, many during World War II.

The restoration was carried out by Quinton Nelson, a former crew member of the 'Donaghadee Lifeboat'.  Following sea trials the 'Herbert John' is destined for England where she will be used by her new owner.

(With thanks for information supplied by Peter Alcock, LPO and Vice President of Donaghadee Lifeboat Fund Raising Committee: The owner of the 'Herbert John' is Graham Mountford, a founding member of the Historic Lifeboats Owners Association and a volunteer tractor launch driver at Newquay RNLI Lifeboat Station)

UPDATE from Graham Mountford to Portaferry RNLI on 20 May 2012: "ON 825 is now here with me in Cornwall, and kept at Restronguet Creek, one of the tributaries feeding the Falmouth roads".

For some of the life saving history of the 'Herbert John' please click here or browse the Local RNLI History section of this web site.

Photo: RNLI - Jim Brown

The restored 'Herbert John' at Donaghadee Marina earlier today

 

The bow and stern of the Herbert John prior to launch

Photo: courtesy of Graham Mountford

 

Photo: courtesy of Graham Mountford

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4 December 2011

'Certificates of Service' & Gold Badges for Crew Members

Left to Right - Mark Browne, Tommy Mason, John Murray (Station President), Jackie Harris, Brian Bailie (Lifeboat Operations Manager) and Jonathan Brownlee.

Photo: RNLI - Graham Edgar

Mark Browne, Thomas (Tommy) Mason, Jackie Harris and Jonathan Brownlee have been presented with 'Certificates of Service'; a combined total of 110 years of service to the RNLI.

Tommy Mason has also received a Bar to his RNLI Gold Badge for his 30 years of dedicated service to the RNLI.

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10 August 2011

Kirkistown Castle Golf Club

'Lifeboat Day'

sponsored by the

Progressive Building Society

raised £3,200 for the RNLI

Results

Winning Lady - Debbie McMaster - Edenmore G.C.

Winning Ladies Team - Edenmore G.C.

Winning Gent - Gary Watson - Edenmore G.C.

Winning Gent's Team - Edemore G.C.

Winning Mixed Team - Donaghadee G.C.

Other prize-winners;

Marie McGratten - Ardminnan G.C.      Peter Alcock - Donaghadee G.C.

Brian Kissock - Bangor G.C.       Tom Andrews - Rockmount G.C.

Henni Taylor, Patsy McGoldrick & Eamon McGrattan - Kirkistown Castle G.C.

Thanks to everyone who tee'd off and helped make the 'Lifeboat Day' such a success.

Thanks also to Darren Clarke for taking the time to send us his best wishes for the 'Lifeboat Day'

&

a BIG thank-you to all from Sally McCoy (Event Organiser)

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23 June 2011

Margaret Barbour receives a 'Certificate of Thanks'

Photo: RNLI - Pat Browne

(L to R)  Mrs Eveleigh Brownlow; President - Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild, Mrs Bernadette Rogers; Hon Secretary, Mrs Margaret Barbour, Mr Sam Barbour, Mr Andrew Gillespie and Mrs Pat Browne; Chair - Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild

Margaret Barbour from Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild has received a 'Certificate of Thanks' from the RNLI during the recent RNLI Awards ceremony held in the Great Hall at Queen's University, Belfast.

Margaret, who joined Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild in 2004 and became the Guild's Assistant Secretary in 2007, received the award for her central role in developing a 'Buy a Brick' campaign that raised £12,000 as a part of the station's 'Boathouse Appeal Fund' during 2009 and 2010.   (The 'Boathouse Appeal Fund' closed in 2010 having raised £119,828 towards the building of the new lifeboat station.)

Margaret was presented with her award by the Guest of Honour, the Very Rev Dr. Houston McKelvey, OBE, former Dean of Belfast Cathederal.

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9 April 2011

Churches & Sunday Schools visit Portaferry RNLI

Photo: RNLI - Beni Benstead

Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat volunteers held an open morning on Saturday, 9th April to thank five churches in County Down for their donation of £650 towards the crew's lifesaving work in Strangford Lough and the surrounding area.

Church members and children from Sunday schools had a chance to sit in the Lifeboat, trying on lifejackets and safety helmets while learning about the equipment onboard which is all funded by charitable donations.

Brian Bailie, Lifeboat Operations Manager, giving the visitors information about the life-saving work of 'Blue Peter V'

Photo: RNLI - Beni Benstead

They also enjoyed a tour of the Portaferry Lifeboat Station, officially opened last year, including the crew changing area and the upstairs training room with its views across Strangford Lough.

Mary Stewart and Myrtle McBride from the First Presbyterian (Non-Subscribing) Church in Downpatrick organised the collection earlier this year following a special service to celebrate 300 years in their present church building. They were joined by congregations from the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Churches of Ballee and Clough as well as the Presbyterian Churches of Downpatrick and Ardglass.

Photo: RNLI - Beni Benstead

Chair of the Portaferry RNLI's Fund Raising Guild, Pat Browne said "We are pleased we could welcome so many people from the churches to thank them for their kind support and to give them an idea of how their money will be spent, enabling our Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat volunteers to continue saving lives."

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1 January 2011

Sammy Gordon appointed 'DLA'

Sammy Gordon

Photo: RNLI - Colin Watson

Sammy Gordon has been appointed a 'Deputy Launching Authority' (DLA) of Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Station.

Sammy has been a crew member for many years and until recently was one of the station's helmsmen. He takes over the role from former DLA, Jackie Harris, who has been appointed 'Boathouse Manager'.

DLA's assume the operational duties of a lifeboat station's 'Lifeboat Operations Mananger' (LOM) in their absence and are therefore required by the RNLI to display the same qualities of leadership and good judgement.

Sammy joins fellow DLA, Leonard (Lenny) Lawson, in this vital operational role.

 

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December 2010

Gabriel Rogers retires

 

Gabriel Rogers

Photo RNLI - Colin Watson

Gabriel Rogers has retired from Portaferry Lifeboat Station after 30 years of service.

The annoucement of Gabriel's retirement was given at the 'Crew Christmas Dinner' on 17th December in the Portaferry Hotel.

Gabriel joined Portaferry Lifeboat Station on 1st September 1980, just a few weeks after the Station was opened on 1st May that same year.

Gabriel's work for the 'Station' and his help to the 'Lifeboat Guild', in particular during the Guild's formative years, is remembered by many.

After announcing Gabriel's retirement, Brian Bailie (Lifeboat Operations Manager) expressed the thanks of the Station & the Guild and presented Gabriel with a framed 'Certificate of Service' from the RNLI, and in appreciation, a clock & barometer from his fellow Crew Members.

 

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11th August 2010

RNLI Golf Day - Kirkistown Castle Golf Club

Photo - Progressive Building Sopciety

For over 15 years the Kirkistown Castle Golf Club has supported the RNLI by making its golf course exclusively available for one day each year to help raise funds for the RNLI.

The Progressive Building Society, with the help of Graeme Norris of the Wellington Place branch, once again kindly sponsored the fundraising event.

This year, the four-ball Stableford event attracted 226 golfers representing some 60 teams from golf clubs around Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain, who came to enjoy one of Northern Ireland's best-supported one-day golf tournaments.

The competition resulted in over £3,600 being raised for the RNLI by the Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild.

David Peacock, event organiser, says, "Progressive's continued support is invaluable in helping us encourage and reward participating teams, in this four ball Stableford competition, with a wonderful buffet and fun prizes for coming along to help raise much needed funds for the RNLI.

The Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild is also deeply indebted to Kirkistown Castle Golf Club for their support for over 40 years through various fund raising activities in the club. "The money raised goes towards keeping the lifeboats in operation so the RNLI can continue to help save lives at sea.

Since opening in 1979, the Portaferry Station has launched its lifeboats 692 times, rescuing 582 people and saving 98 lives.

 

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26th June 2010

RNLI Annual Awards - Billy Ellison recognised

The RNLI Awards for 2010 were held in the Great Hall of Queen's University, Belfast on 26th June 2010.

Many members of Portaferry Lifeboat Station were present to witness the new Chairman of the RNLI, Admiral the Lord Boyce, present William (Billy) Ellison with a RNLI Statuette & Certificate of Service.

Billy Ellison was one of the earliest crew members of the Portaferry Lifeboat Station when it was established in 1980.

Billy was involved in many of the Station's early life-saving rescues and received the RNLI's 'Thanks on Vellum' after a daring rescue on Strangford Lough during a severe gale.  Billy's helmsman on that occasion was Dessie Rogers who was awarded a Bronze Medal by the RNLI for his leadership in the rescue. (View this web site's History page)

Billy Ellison is still closely involved with Portaferry RNLI as the station's Treasurer.

 

Photo: RNLI - Colin Watson

Billy Ellison receives a Statuette & Certificate of Service from Admiral the Lord Boyce, Chairman of the RNLI

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5th June 2010

New Boathouse opening & 'Blue Peter V' Naming Ceremony

On 5th June 2010 Portaferry Lifeboat Station reached another milestone in its life-saving history - The opening of a magnificent new Boathouse and the naming of a new Atlantic 85 lifeboat, 'Blue Peter V'

The weather was kind for the outdoor ceremony that began with a welcome to guests by Mr David Russell, Chairman of Portaferry Lifeboat Management Group.

Mr John McCauley, Council Member of the RNLI, then gave the guests and the crowds of spectators an outline of the achievements of the Portaferry Lifeboat Station and expressed the thanks of the RNLI to all those past and present who had been involved with the Station.

Following a service of dedication, the new Boathouse was delivered into the care of the RNLI by Mr Leslie McConnell (a friend of the legator, Mrs Elsie Sturgeon) and accepted by Mr John McCauley.

BBC Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere then delivered the new Atlantic 85 lifeboat into the care of the RNLI.

Following acceptance by Mr John McCauley of the new Boathouse and the Atlantic 85 into the care of the RNLI, Mr McCauley then transferred both into the care and safe keeping of Portaferry RNLI.

Mr Brian Bailie (Lifeboat Operations Manager) accepted the new Boathouse and the Atlantic 85 lifeboat into the care of Portaferry RNLI and expressed the Station's thanks to the donors and to the RNLI.

The ceremony was concluded with a 'Vote of Thanks' by Mrs Pat Browne, Chair of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild, who expressed the Station's thanks to everyone, past and present, who had worked to make such a day possible.

Andy Akinwolere then named the new Atlantic 85 lifeboat 'Blue Peter V' after which he joined the lifeboat crew in a launch to demonstrate the lifeboat's capabilities to a large group of guests and spectators.

Following the ceremony guests were invited for refreshments at the local community centre.

All photos: Colin Watson

RNLI Council member John McCauley chats with Dessie Rogers, former chief helmsman of Portaferry Lifeboat during a pre-ceremony reception.

Specially commissioned commemorative plates were presented during a pre-ceremony reception to Andy Akinwolere of 'Blue Peter', Miss Joan Foster, a special guest, and to Mr Leslie McConnell, a friend of the legator, Ms Elsie Sturgeon.

The Opening & Naming ceremony begins

Large crowds attended the new Boathouse Opening & the 'Blue Peter V' Naming Ceremony

Andy Akinwolere from BBC Blue Peter hands over 'Blue Peter V' to the RNLI

Andy Akinwolere from BBC Blue Peter prepares to name 'Blue Peter V'

 

Old & new crew members helped to make the 'day' a great success

 

Brian Bailie (LOM of Portaferry Lifeboat Station), Anna Classon (Fundraising & Communications Manager - Ireland) and Andy Akinwolere (BBC Blue Peter) relax after the Opening and Naming ceremonies.

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1 June 2010

Boathouse Appeal Fund

Donations total - £119,828.

Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild were set the task in 2008 of raising £75,000 towards the cost of building a new 'boathouse' in Portaferry to house our new 'Atlantic 85' lifeboat, 'Blue Peter V', donated to the Station by BBC 'Blue Peter'.

Thanks to the magnificent support of the local community and beyond the members of 'Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild' have now exceeded their expectations by raising £119,828 for the Portaferry RNLI 'Boathouse Appeal Fund'.

The following photographs illustrate the progress throughout the construction of our new Boathouse that will be officially openend on 5th June 2010.

Our many thanks to everyone for your support.

 

2008 - THE 'Boathouse Appeal' BEGINS

All photos: RNLI - Portaferry

 

THE CONSTRUCTION STARTS

 

 

 

 

WORK COMPLETE

 

 

 

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27 May 2010

HRH Prince Michael of Kent presents 'Gold Badge' to Pat Browne.

 

Photo: RNLI

Pat Browne, Chair of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild, has been presented with the RNLI's 'Gold Badge' by HRH Prince Michael of Kent during the RNLI Awards ceremony held at the Barbican Centre, London on 27 May 2010.

Pat received her Gold Badge for over 25 years of fundraising work for the RNLI.

 

31 May 2009

RNLI Annual Awards

Phil Coulter was the principal guest when several members of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild received awards for their fund-raising work for the RNLI during the 'Annual RNLI Awards' on 31st May 2009 at Queens University, Belfast.

All photos: RNLI - Colin Watson

Phil Coulter presented Joan Peacock with her Silver Badge and 'Certificate of Thanks'. Joan has been a member of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild for many years and is currently the Souvenir Secretary of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild.

Phil Coulter presented Jean Keenan with her Bronze Badge and 'Certificate of Thanks'.  Jean has been a member of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild for many years and raises funds for the RNLI in the fishing port of Portavogie and the surrounding area.

 

Phil Coulter presented Mike Miall with a 'Certificate of Thanks' for his help with the 'Portaferry Boathouse Appeal'. Mike Miall joined Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild in 2004 and is currently its Vice-Chairman.

 

Phil Coulter presented Shane Branniff with a 'Certificate of Thanks' for providing premises to house the 'Portaferry Lifeboat' during the construction period of the new Boathouse.

 

Mrs Pat Browne, Chairperson of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild, presents Phil Coulter with a RNLI pullover.

 

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2nd April 2009

Leonard Lawson's interview with Karen Brown of 'Culture Northern Ireland' about Portaferry RNLI's history

Leonard Lawson (Deputy Launching Authority)

Photo: RNLI - Colin Watson

Leonard Lawson (DLA) was interviewed by Karen Brown from Culture Northern Ireland about the role played by Portaferry Sailing Club and others in establishing a RNLI Lifeboat Station in Portaferry in 1980.

Click HERE to read the interview

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18 August 2008

Young Farmers raise £2,500 for new Boathouse

 

Photo: RNLI - Beni Benstead

Pictured in the photograph above, from left, are: Mike Miall (Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild), Marko Petric (Lifeboat Crew), Nelson Shanks (Co. Down Young Farmers’ Secretary), Jonathan Brownlee (Lifeboat Crew), Ian Dunlop (Co. Down Young Farmers’ Chairman), James Strong (Lifeboat Crew), Emma Gibson (RNLI Area Fund Raising Manager) and Brian Bailie (Lifeboat Operations Manager).

Young Farmers from Co. Down today handed over £2,500 to members of the volunteer lifeboat crew and fundraisers with the Portaferry RNLI lifeboat station, who have launched a major £75,000 appeal towards the cost of building a bigger station to house their new Atlantic 85 Blue Peter lifeboat, which is due on service next year.

Advances in technology have meant that the brand new state of the art lifeboat will be too long for the present boathouse, where space is already limited, with no designated drying or changing areas for the volunteer crew members.

The Young Farmers’ donation, following a raft race at Newtownards Sailing Club, adds significantly to the £4,600 raised last week by 256 golfers from across the country at Kirkistown Castle Golf Club.

Former Lifeboat Medical Examiner (Retired) and golf day organiser, David Peacock, said “This is an excellent start to the appeal and the RNLI is appreciative of all donations, great and small.”

Brian Bailie, Portaferry Lifeboat Operations Manager added, “We are really looking forward to getting our new boathouse and lifeboat. The crew are very committed to the station and are always ready to launch the lifeboat at a moment’s notice. I hope that people will be generous with this appeal and continue to support us in saving lives at sea.”

Portaferry volunteer lifeboat crew members have launched 636 times since 1980 and have saved 95 lives, rescuing hundreds more. A simple way that people can help is by buying a brick for as little as £5 and donors will have their name inscribed in a special Commemorative Book, held at the new station. To see plans of the new station, to buy a brick or to donate on-line, please go to www.portaferrylifeboat.com or call the RNLI Office on 028 9047 3665.

May 2008

Dr David Peacock awarded the RNLI Gold Medal

Dr David Peacock has received his RNLI Gold Medal from HRH The Duchess of Cornwall during the RNLI Presentation of Awards held at the Barbican Centre in London.

David was the station's first Lifeboat Medical Officer and served since the station began operations in 1979.  He retired in 2007.   

David continues to organise the highly successful annual RNLI Golf Day at Kirkistown Castle Golf Club that has now raised many thousands of £'s for the RNLI.

21st January 2008

COAST REVIEW COMMITTEE VISITS PORTAFERRY RNLI

Photo: RNLI - Jim Brown

The RNLI's Coast Review Committee headed by the RNLI's Director of Operations, Michael Vlasto, visited Portaferry Lifeboat Station on 21st January.

Michael Vlasto (4th right, front row) was accompanied by several RNLI representatives from the 'review committee' and are pictured above with crew and Portaferry Station representatives.

 

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December 2007

PORTAFERRY LIFEBOAT CREW - 2007

Photo: Liam McVeigh

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9 June 2007

Volunteering for something higher... Tommy Mason and Anne Marie Mahon absieled down Belfast's BT Tower and raised a fantastic £500.

 


Photo: RNLI 

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1st January 2007

Gold Awards

Mrs Eveleigh Brownlow (President of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild) has been awarded a 'bar' to her RNLI Gold Badge for her many years of voluntary fundraising work for the RNLI.

Mr John Murray (President of Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Station) has been awarded a RNLI Gold Badge for his many years of service since the opening of a trial Lifeboat Station at Portaferry in 1979 until his retirement as the station's Lifeboat Operations Manager in August 2006.

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23 November 2006

RNLI thanks Simon Rogers and Crew

Portaferry Lifeboat helmsman Simon Rogers is to be accorded the RNLI's 'Thanks of the Institution on Vellum' for his role in the saving of one person and the following searches for the missing crew of the fishing vessel Greenhill that sank off Ardglass, County Down, on 19 January 2006.

His crew, Philip Sands-Robinson, Andrew (Hugh) Edwards and Sinead Breen will each receive Vellum certificates.

The search and rescue operation saw one man saved by the Portaferry Lifeboat, 'Blue Peter V', but sadly two lost their lives after their fishing vessel sank.

In recognition of their efforts during the long and arduous service at night and in gale force winds the Portaferry Lifeboat Station is to receive a Chairman’s Framed Letter of Thanks and the recently retired Portaferry Lifeboat Operations Manager John Murray a letter of Appreciation signed by the Chief Executive.

Newcastle Lifeboat Station is also receive a Letter of Appreciation signed by the Chief Executive for their search for the two missing fishermen.

For further information on this rescue and the search for the missing crew, please click here

 

Photo: RNLI - Colin Watson

Helmsman Simon Rogers pictured with his crew,
Andrew (Hugh) Edwards, Sinead Breen and Philip Sands- Robinson.

 

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15 November 2006

RNLI Chairman visits Portaferry

Admiral Sir Jock Slater GCB LVO DL, Chairman of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, has visited Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Station accompanied by Terence Johnson, Vice Chairman RNLI and Colin Williams, Inspector of Lifeboats - Ireland.

During the visit and over lunch Sir Jock Slater and his colleagues met many of the lifeboat crew, guild members and station officials.

Photo: RNLI - Jim Brown

Admiral Sir Jock Slater signs the Station Log Book
witnessed by Colin Williams (Inspector of Lifeboats - Ireland)

 

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1 November 2006

Blue Peter awards John Murray & Dessie Rogers Blue Peter 'Gold Badges'.

John Murray & Dessie Rogers have been awarded the prestigious 'Blue Peter Gold Badge' for their life-saving work over many years by the world renowned BBC Children's Television programme 'Blue Peter'.

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6 October 2006

JOHN MURRAY & DESSIE ROGERS RETIRE

A dinner marking the retirement of John Murray and Dessie Rogers after 27 years of voluntary service for the Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Station took place on the evening of 6th October in the Portaferry Hotel, Portaferry, Co. Down.

John and Dessie became members of the lifeboat crew in 1979 when a 'trial lifeboat' was established by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in Portaferry following representations made by Portaferry Sailing Club and others regarding the lack of life-saving facilities in the area.

After successful trials the RNLI decided to open a lifeboat station in Portaferry that became officially operational in May 1980.  Shortly afterwards John Murray was appointed 'Station Administration Officer' and Dessie Rogers, 'Chief Helmsman'.

In 1991 John Murray was appointed as the station's Honorary Secretary (now re-titled Lifeboat Operation Manager) and Dessie Rogers, having reached the retirement age for lifeboat crew in 1996, was appointed Deputy Lifeboat Launching Authority.

Attending the 'Retirement Dinner' were over 20 representatives from other RNLI lifeboat stations, Coastguards from the Maritime & Coastguard Agency and other past & present RNLI officials.

Colin Williams, Inspector of Lifeboats (Ireland) presented RNLI 'Certificates of Service' to both retirees and thanked them for their many years of voluntary life-saving work.

Congratulatory messages to the retirees included two from CBBC 'Blue Peter ' through which children throughout the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland raised monies over many years to provide two Portaferry 'Blue Peter V' lifeboats.

Messages received also included one from the Master & Crew of the Commissioners of Irish Lights vessel 'Granuaile' and past crew members from as far afield as New Zealand.

During the evenings festivities David Russell, Chairman of the of station's 'Lifeboat Management Group', announced that John Murray had been appointed the station's 6th 'President'.

Portaferry's new 'Lifeboat Operations Manager' will be Brian Bailie who has been the station's 'Lifeboat Administration Officer' for many years.

 

Photo: RNLI - Jim Brown

Colin Williams (centre), Inspector of Lifeboats (Ireland)
presents framed 'Certificates of Service' to Desmond (Dessie) Rogers (left)
and John Murray.

 

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9 August 2006

KCGC 'Lifeboat Day' raises over £4,000

Kirkistown Castle Golf Club once again hosted a golfing competition in aid of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

A turnout of 239 golfers participated in the 12th annual KCGC 'Lifeboat Day' competition that was sponsored by the 'Progressive Building Society'. The popular 'sell-out' event raised over £4,000 for the RNLI.

 

Photo - Progressive Building Society

Pictured teeing off the call for entries to this year's event at 'Kirkistown Castle Golf Club'
is Progressive Building Society's Graeme Norris (right) with Pat Browne, Chair
of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild and Dr David Peacock, Event Co-ordinator

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8 June 2006

President of Ireland opens new RNLI headquarters

The President of Ireland, Mrs Mary McAleese, officially opened the new Ireland Headquarters of the RNLI in Swords, County Dublin.

Representatives from all 43 lifeboat stations in Ireland were in attendance along with supporters and staff.

Representing Portaferry Lifeboat Station were David Russell (Chairman of the Station Management Group), John Murray (LOM) and John Murray Jnr (Helmsman).

Photo: RNLI

Helmsman, John Murray Jnr, meets President Mary McAleese during the opening ceremony.

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18 May 2006

Posthumous presentation of RNLI Gold Badge

The late Dr William (Billy) Brown from Portaferry, Co. Down has been remembered during the Royal National Lifeboat Institution 'Annual Presentation of Awards' held at the Barbican Centre, London.

Dr Brown was to have been presented with a RNLI Gold Badge during the ceremony but unfortunately died (aged 84) on 8th March 2006 after a short illness.

Attending the 2006 RNLI Annual Awards ceremony in London were many members of Dr Brown's family including his daughter Heather, sons James and William and his brother 'Dickie' Brown.

The posthumous presentation was made by HRH The Princess Alexandra and received by the late Dr Brown's daughter, Mrs Heather Kennedy

Dr 'Billy' Brown was instrumental in the establishment of a RNLI lifeboat station at Portaferry, Co. Down, in 1979.

He was the RNLI Station's first Honorary Secretary and subsequently served as Chairman and latterly as the station's President.

Billy Brown had many interests including a love of sailing.

His mathematical and sailing expertise helped him to design a 33ft ocean racing yacht named 'Ruffian' that he and his brother 'Dickie' built in 1969/70. Billy Brown went on to design a smaller version, the 'Ruffian 23'.

Such was the popularity of both designs for cruiser racing that over 200 yachts were built in Portaferry during the 70's and early 80's by 'Weatherly Yachts', a company established by Billy Brown and his brother 'Dickie'.

The most popular model, the 'Ruffian 23', was sold throughout the British Isles and Ireland and further afield in places such as Hong Kong and Iceland. There are still some active racing fleets.

Billy Brown documented the story of 'Ruffian' in 1992. To read about the birth and fate of 'Ruffian' click here.

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8 March 2006 - It is with deep regret that we record the death of our esteemed President Dr William (Billy) Brown.

Obituary - Dr Billy Brown click here

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December 2005

Billy Brown awarded RNLI Gold Badge

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution has awarded its prestigious Gold Badge to the President of Portaferry Lifeboat Station, Dr W P (Billy) Brown, for his outstanding services to the RNLI.

'Billy' Brown was the main driving force in the establishment of a lifeboat station at Portaferry in 1980.  Following successful trials in 1979 under his leadership the new station became operational in May 1980 as an official RNLI Lifeboat Station.

Billy Brown was the Station's first Honorary Secretary, an office he held until the late 1990's when he was then appointed as Station Chairman.

In 2001 Billy was appointed Station President.

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November 2005

RNLI 'Letter of Thanks'

Portaferry Lifeboat Crew and Shore Helpers have received a 'Letter of Thanks' for 'Devotion to Duty' for services on 11th & 12th January 2004.

 

RNLI Letter of Thanks

 

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February 2005

Tsunami Relief

The crew of Portaferry Lifeboat, 'Blue Peter V', held a 'Tsunami Relief Car Wash' in Portaferry last February to augment funds donated by them to provide a fully equipped fishing boat for one of the many fishermen in Sri Lanka who lost their craft during last December's Tsunami.

The monies raised by the Lifeboat Crew were channeled through the 'Irish Sri Lanka Trust Fund' that was established a few days after the Tsunami to provide practical assistance to fishing families by funding and co-ordinating the supply of replacement fishing boats destroyed during the disaster.

Amanda Hughes of the 'Irish Sri Lanka Trust Fund' stated; "Thanks to the efforts of many organisations and the generosity of the public throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, our trust fund has now ordered 992 fishing boats from three suitable boatyards in Sri Lanka. 630 of these vessels have already been supplied and are currently in use around the Tsunami affected coast of Sri Lanka".

"The fund has already created about 300 extra jobs in the boat construction industry and should eventually ensure the livelihood of about 3,000 fishermen and their families.  Our fund has no administration costs and all monies donated have been used to purchase the fishing vessels."

Each 6-metre, fibreglass, fishing boat is supplied complete with an outboard engine, fuel and fishing nets so that the vessel can put to sea without any delay.  In-shore fishing in Sri Lanka normally takes place at night and each vessel usually carries a crew of three.

A spokesperson on behalf of Portaferry Lifeboat Station commented; "Our Lifeboat Crew involvement in fund-raising would normally be solely on behalf of our own charity, the RNLI.  Because of the magnitude of this disaster and our close links with the local fishing community, the Lifeboat Crew felt that they would like to provide practical assistance to one of the fishing families in Sri Lanka who had lost their means of income."

"Thanks to the generosity of the local community one of these fishing families is now 'back in business'."

Portaferry's 'Atlantic 75' lifeboat was supplied by the CBBC children's programme 'Blue Peter' through funds raised by children throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland and is named 'Blue Peter V'.

In recognition, the Lifeboat Crew have named the new fishing vessel 'Blue Peter V - Portaferry'.

Further information about the 'Irish Sri Lanka Trust Fund' can be obtained by visiting www.irish-srilankatrustfund.org

Photo: RNLI - Jim Brown

Presentation of a cheque (February 2005) to provide a fully functional fishing boat
in Sri Lanka by Thomas Mason, Treasurer of Portaferry Lifeboat Crew,
to Amanda Hughes of the Irish Sri Lanka Trust Fund

 

Photo:Irish Sri Lanka Trust Fund

Photograph of 'Blue Peter V - Portaferry', following the vessel's manufacture
in Sri Lanka but prior to fitting out with equipment

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19 May 2005

RNLI Gold Badge for Bernadett Rogers

Photo: RNLI

Mrs Bernadette Rogers, Honorary Secretary of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild, has been awarded the Royal National Lifeboat Institution prestigious 'Gold Badge' for her 25 years of voluntary work for the RNLI.

The award was presented by HRH The Duke of Kent, President of the RNLI, during the institution's Annual General Meeting held at the Barbican Centre, London, on 19 May.

26 May 2005

Marie McGee & Jonathan Brownlee receive 'Certificate of Thanks'

 

Photo: RNLI

Mrs Marie McGee has received a 'Certificate of Thanks' from the RNLI in recognition of her voluntary work for the institution.

Marie is pictured above with UTV presenter, Pamela Ballentine, who made the presentation on behalf of the RNLI during the 'RNLI Northern Ireland Awards' ceremony held at the Cultra Manor, Cultra, on 26 May.

 

Photo: RNLI

Jonathan Brownlee, Station Training Officer and Helmsman, has received a certificate of thanks from the RNLI in recognition of his voluntary work for the institution.

Jonathan is pictured above with UTV Presenter, Pamela Ballentine, who made the presentation on behalf of the RNLI during the 'RNLI Northern Ireland Awards' ceremony held at the Cultra Manor, Cultra, on 26 May.

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17th February 2005

Guild raise over £31,000 to celebrate 25th

Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild decided to raise £25,000 for the RNLI to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the opening of Portaferry Lifeboat Station by the RNLI on 1st May 1980.

After months of fundraising it was announced at the Guild's Annual General Meeting that this target had now been exceeded and now stands at £31,939.  Several members of the Guild that helped to raise these monies are pictured during the Guild AGM.

Photo: RNLI - Jim Brown

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February 2005

Guyana Flood Relief

Portaferry Lifeboat crew member, Hugh Edwards, has just returned from two weeks in Guyana, South America, where he was a part of the humanitarian and Search and Rescue (SAR) operation of the RNLI Rapid Response Unit (RRU).

Weeks of rain and flooding in Georgetown and surrounding areas had made 250,000 people homeless. The RNLI team of twenty, specially trained in swift water rescue techniques, arrived in the capital, Georgetown, on the 2nd February with six D class lifeboats. The RNLI team was able to get personnel from the Red Cross, World Food Programme and Pan-American Health Organisation into the more inaccessible and remote flooded areas to assess the situation and to provide assistance. Prior to returning home, the RRU trained members of the Guyanese Coastguard in lifeboat rescue techniques. The six 'D' class lifeboats were also handed over to the Guyanese Coastguard to help in future flood relief and rescue operations.

 

Members of the RNLI SAR Team ready to board an Antonov cargo plane to Georgetown,
Guyana. (Hugh Edwards pictured far right)

 Photo: RNLI - Hugh Edwards

Hugh Edwards (top right) pictured with children from Mahaica, Guyana.

Photo: RNLI - Hugh Edwards

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16th February 2005

Tsunami Fund Raising

Portaferry Lifeboat Crew has raised sufficient funds within two weeks through their recent 'Tsunami Car Wash' and other donations to assist them in purchasing a fishing boat in Sri Lanka that will be donated to one of those fishermen who lost their craft during last December's 'Tsunami'. It is to be supplied complete with fishing nets, a 25-hp outboard motor and sufficient fuel so that the fisherman can put to sea immediately after receipt so as to provide an income as soon as possible to support his family and himself.

The fishing boat is to be named 'Blue Peter V Portaferry'

 

Photo: RNLI - Jim Brown

RNLI Presentation of Tsunami cheque . Mrs Amanda Hughes, Fund Raising Co-ordinator of the Irish Sri-Lanka Trust Fund, receives a cheque to purchase the fishing boat, 'Blue Peter V - Portaferry', from Thomas Mason, Crew Fund Treasurer of Portaferry Lifeboat Station, accompanied by several members of the station's crew.

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11 Dec 2004

'Nautical' Walk

A 15 Nautical Mile Walk raises £3,884 for the RNLI

Jonathan Brownlee, Training Officer and Helmsman, assisted by Francis Arthurs raised £3,884 for the RNLI during a 15 Nautical Mile walk.

 

Photo: RNLI - Jim Brown

Jonathan (centre) is pictured handing over the monies raised to the
Treasurer of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild, Capt Eddie McGee (left).

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5th November 2004

25th Anniversary Ball

Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild held their 25th Anniversary Ball on 5th November 2004 and raised £3,513 for the RNLI.

Photo: RNLI - Jim Brown

Pictured at the Anniversary Ball are Owen Medland (DDI Ireland), Mrs Pat Browne (Chairman - Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild), Nigel Ringland (principal guest), Mrs Eveleigh Brownlow (President - Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild) and Mr John Murray (Lifeboat Operations Manager).

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June 2004

BBC Bargain Hunt

The BBC recently recorded its first 'BBC Bargain Hunt' programme in Northern Ireland with two competing teams from Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Station.

During the recordings Simon Rogers (Helmsman) and Philip Robinson (Crew Member) represented the Lifeboat Station's 'Red Team' and Hugh Edwards (Crew Member) and Mike Miall (Member of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild) the 'Blue Team'.

The well-known presenter David Dickinson was assisted by antique experts Adam Partridge and Charles Hanson.

The programme was broadcast by the BBC on 23rd June and was watched by an estimated 4.5 million viewers.

 

Photo: RNLI - Jim Brown

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26th May 2004

RNLI Chairman visits 'Portaferry'

Peter Nicholson CBE (Chairman RNLI) and his wife (Lesley-Jane) visited Portaferry Station accompanied by Mr Terrence Johnson (Chairman - RNLI Committee of Management - Ireland) and Owen Medland (DDI Ireland).

Photo: RNLI - Jim Brown

Mr Terrence Johnson signs the 'visitors book' witnessed by Mr John Murray LOM and
Mr Peter Nicholson CBE, Chairman RNLI.

 

Photo: RNLI - Jim Brown

Mrs Lesley-Jane Nicholson enjoys a discussion with Portaferry crew member Lynn Browne

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27th May 2004

Jim Brown receives a 'Certificate of Thanks'

Jim Brown from Ballywalter has retired as the 'Co-ordinating Chairman' of Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Station and has received a framed 'Certificate of Thanks' from the RNLI.

David Russell from Portaferry has been appointed by the RNLI as his successor.

David Russell is the new Chairman of the newly formed 'Portaferry Lifeboat Management Group'

Jim Brown joined the team at Portaferry Lifeboat Station in 1992 shortly after his wife (Liz) retired as Chair of the Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild.

In 1996 Jim shared the newly introduced office of 'Lifeboat Press Officer' with crew member John Devlin.   

In 1998 Jim was appointed the station's 4th President.

In 2000 Jim was appointed by the RNLI for a 3 year term as the station's 'Co-ordinating Chairman', a new role then being trialled by the RNLI in a few lifeboat stations. This new office was established by the RNLI to co-ordinate the operational and fund-raising activities within RNLI lifeboat stations.   Dr Billy Brown, then the Station Chairman, was appointed President.

Jim will continue to help as the Station's press officer until a new Lifeboat Press Officer is appointed.

Photo: RNLI - Colin Watson

Jim Brown (right) past Station President and retiring Co-ordinating Chairman receives a 'Certificate of Thanks' from the RNLI from Peter Nicholson, Chairman of the RNLI.

Prior to Jim's involvement with the RNLI he served as Chairman of the Royal Yachting Association's Northern Ireland Council, having previously been its Honorary Secretary for a period of 8 years.  During this period he was appointed for a 3 year term to the RYA's UK Council when he also served on the RYA's Development Committee.

Jim is a former Honorary Secretary of the Association of Strangford Lough Yacht Clubs.  He was appointed by the Secetary of State for Northern Ireland to represent the RYA and that of local sailing interests at the founding of the Strangford Lough Management Advisory Committee.

Jim also served as an ex-officio member of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now re-named the Irish Sailing Association) and on other advisory committees such as the User Consultative Committee of the Commissioners of Irish Lights.

Jim is the former Principal of a college that trained Radio Officers for the Merchant Navy and the Diplomatic Wireless Service.  He subsequently became involved in the design and modification of coronary equipment for use the world's first Cardiac Ambulance, first envisaged by Dr Frank Pantridge of the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.  He continued to design and build central monitoring stations for many of the first Coronary Care and Intensive Care units in Northern Ireland prior to becoming involved in the formation of a medical electronics company.

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21 June 2003

Queen's Jubilee Medal

The Lord Lieutenant of County Down, Colonel W Hall, visited the station on 21st June 03 and presented the Queen's Jubilee Medal to seventeen members of the crew.

The presentation was further enhanced by the presence of the Mayor of Ard's Borough Council, Councillor J McBriar. Both are pictured above after the presentations with the awardees, guild members and station officials.

Photo: RNLI - Jim Brown

 

Photo: RNLI - Jim Brown

Phil Heath (former helmsman) received his
Queen's Jubilee Medal from John Murray (Hon Secretary) during a recent
visit to Portaferry from his home in New Zealand

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Services 2002

During the year 2002, Portaferry Lifeboat was launched on service 27 times saving 2 lives. In addition, 25 persons were brought ashore whose lives were at risk and a further 7 persons before they were at risk.

Two craft were also saved and a further eight were escorted to safety.

The lifeboat was also launched on a further 5 occasions but was not required to assist.

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28 January 2003

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland visits the Station

Photo: RNLI - Jim Brown

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Rt. Hon Paul Murphy MP, is pictured (right) with Station Honorary Secretary, John Murray, during a visit to the station.

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14 August 2002

RNLI Golf Day at Kirkistown Golf Club.

Over 200 golfers took part in the annual event which raised approx. £3,500 for the RNLI.

Since the RNLI Golf Day was first started by Portaferry & District Guild members, Terry and Joan Burrows, it has now raised in excess of £20,000 for the RNLI.

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June 2002

RNLI Awards

Leah Bradshaw, Lifeboat Shop Secretary, receiving her Silver Badge and Certificate for her fund raising work from Pam Rhodes at the NI RNLI Awards Ceremony.

 

Photo: RNLI

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8 May 2002 - James Fitzsimmons receiving a Certificate of Service for 16 years as Station Tractor Driver from television presenter and Member of the RNLI Committee of Management, Pam Rhodes, at the NI RNLI Awards ceremony held in Belfast on 8th may 2002.

Photo: RNLI

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21 April 2002

Exercise with HM Coastguard & the Strangford Ferry

An exercise took place with the Strangford Ferry, (the new 'Portaferry II') that involved the evacuation of several 'volunteer passengers' by helicopter and lifeboat.

 

Preparing for the exercise
Liferaft launch for recovery by ferry's tender

 

  

Royal Navy Sea-king arrives at the ferry, Portaferry lifeboat assists

Photos RNLI - Jim Brown

'Got Ya'

Who's this guy - recognise him?

Yes - its Colin Watson, the RNLI's well known photographer, dressed for all weathers and, for a change, he was caught by us on camera.

Photo: RNLI - Jim Brown

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May 21st 2002

Newtownards Round Table visit the Station

Newtownards Round Table members visited the station and presented a donation of £1,500.00 for the RNLI.

Photo: RNLI - Jim Brown

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17 May 2001

Mrs Eveleigh Brownlow, President of Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild, receives a Gold Badge from HRH The Duke of Kent, President of the RNLI,during the RNLI Annual General Meeting held at the Barbican Centre, London on 17th May 2001. The award was made in recognition of over 36 years dedication to fund-raising for the RNLI.

Photo: RNLI

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Kirkistown Castle Golf Club receives thanks

Mr Peter Nicholson, Chairman of the RNLI, presents a Scroll of Thanks to Mrs Daphne Molyneaux, Ladies President, and Mr Kenneth Thornton, Mens President of Kirkistown Castle Golf Club during the RNLI Awards ceremony held at the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast on 9th May 2001. The Scroll of Thanks was presented to Kirkistown Castle Golf Club in recognition for over 40 years of fundraising for the RNLI.

Photo: RNLI

 

Terrence & Joan Burrowes are thanked for their fund raising

Mr Peter Nicholson, Chairman of the RNLI, presents a Certificate of Thanks to Portaferry & District Lifeboat Guild committee members, Terrence and Joan Burrowes, during the RNLI Awards ceremony held in Belfast on 9th May 2001. TheCertificate of Thanks was awarded for their work over many years in organising the Annual RNLI Golf Day held at Kirkistown Castle Golf club.

Photo: RNLI

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1st May 2001

21st Birthday

Portaferry Lifeboat Station was officially established 21 years ago on 1st May 1980. Since that time the station has responded to several hundred incidents and saved many lives. In addition, many vessels have been taken or escorted to safe waters.

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2nd March 2001

RNLI receives the 'Freedom of the Borough of Ards'.

Ards Borough Council has granted the 'Freedom of the Borough of Ards' to the RNLI in recognition of 175 years of saving life at sea and the Borough's association with the RNLI since 1866 when the first lifeboat station in the area was established at Ballywalter, Co. Down.

Representatives from the crew and the guild from Donaghadee and Portaferry Lifeboat stations attended the ceremony as did two of the last surviving members of the old Cloughey/Portavogie lifeboat station.

The Mayor of the Borough of Ards, Mr T Hamilton MLA, presented the certificate on vellum conferring the Honorary Freedom of the Borough upon the RNLI to the RNLI Chief Executive, Mr Andrew Freemantle.

Also presented to the RNLI was a silver replica of a prominent landmark, Scrabo Tower**, which overlooks much of the Borough of Ards.  

Reciprocating the gesture Mr Freemantle, RNLI Chief Executive, presented the Mayor with a suitably inscribed ship's bell.

Following the ceremony a luncheon was held at which expressions of thanks were conveyed to and from the RNLI.

Photo: The Newtownards Chronicle

 

Mr Andrew Freemantle, RNLI Chief Executive, addressing Aldermen,
Councillors and guests at the ceremony conferring the
Freedom of the Borough of Ards on the RNLI

Photo: RNLI - Jim Brown

 

Crew from the Donaghadee and Portaferry lifeboat stations pictured with
the Mayor of Ards Borough Council, Councillor Tom Hamilton MLA,
Deputy Mayor, Councillor Margaret Craig and Mr Andrew Freemantle, RNLI Chief Executive.

Photo: RNLI - Jim Brown

 

Jim Brown (President Portaferry RNLI), Deputy Mayor, Councillor Margaret Craig, Mr Andrew Fremantle, RNLI Chief Executive, Mayor of Ards Borough Council, Councillor Tom Hamilton MLA, and Mr John Murray, Honorary Secretary of Portaferry Lifeboat Station

Photo:The Newtownards Chronicle

 

 

**Note: Scrabo Tower stands high on a steep hill of volcanic rock overlooking the town of Newtownards and is visible from most of North Down.  It was built in 1857 as a memorial to Charles Stewart, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, who was one of the Duke of Wellington's generals during the Napoleonic Wars.  Mount Stewart (the former home of Charles Stewart) and its gardens are now open to the public through the National Trust.  Please click here for further information.

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December 2000

During the last 12 months provisional service statisitcs for Portaferry Lifeboat Station indicate that:

4 lives were saved

3 Persons were landed who's life was at risk

10 persons were brought in before they were at risk

In addition, 2 craft were saved and 4 craft were landed

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