THE RNLI is looking for new fundraising volunteers to join its lifesaving crew at its branches in Kinsale, Courtmacsherry, Castletownbere and Crosshaven.
Volunteers are at the heart of the RNLI and make up 95% of its people, including Odharnait Collins, chair of the Baltimore RNLI fundraising branch who got involved in 2019. Her RNLI roots go much deeper than that though as lifeboating is very much a way of life for the Collins family.
‘My grandfather Christy Collins was the coxswain of the Baltimore lifeboat,’ Odharnait explains. ‘I remember the stories and awards of his from my childhood. Then my dad Pat who does relief mechanic and relief coxswain, and his brothers, joined the crew when they came of age, and my brother Diarmuid joined the crew when he was 17. My mother Joan was involved in fundraising and after she passed away in 2018, the committee asked if I would step up. Growing up, I have always been aware of the importance of the lifeboat and the great lengths that the crew go to and it is always a relief to everyone to know it is there when needed,’ she said. Since coming onboard as chair, Odharnait has encouraged new people to join and says there is a wonderful blend of experience and youth in the branch.
‘Seeing the good that can come of something we put our heart and soul into organising is the reward for me. In Baltimore, we have sadly seen many tragedies but there has been many great rescue stories too and it is great knowing that that is where the funds raised are going.’