BY JACKIE KEOGH
A VISIT by a royal RNLI volunteer resulted in a positive review of the Union Hall lifeboat station, and news that a new lifeboat is on its way.
Sir Tim Laurence – who is chairman of the RNLI’s operations committee and is also the second husband of Princess Anne – was one of a group of senior RNLI officials to carry out a review of lifeboat stations in Courtmacsherry, Union Hall, Baltimore last week.
The group – without Sir Laurence in attendance – also travelled to Castletownbere the following day.
The visit coincided with the first formal review for the Union Hall station, which was first assembled in 2012, but was only officially accepted as a member in 2013.
John Kelleher, Union Hall’s lifeboat operations manager, confirmed to The Southern Star: ‘The operations committee is happy with the way the station is being run.’
Mr Kelleher described the royal visit as ‘low-key, but enjoyable’ and he welcomed the fact that the RNLI will be ‘reviewing the area with a view to providing a permanent lifeboat station to house a new lifeboat that is likely to be delivered in the second quarter of 2020.’
As chairman of the operations committee, Sir Tim Laurence and his team regularly conduct a five-year review of all stations, with a view to assessing how they are working and to ensure that they have the resources needed to deliver a search and rescue service in the most effective, safe and viable manner.
When he arrived, Sir Laurence – who is a retired Royal Navy officer – greeted each of the RNLI volunteers with a warm handshake and listened with interest as they outlined how the station has grown to include 22 crew and 38 volunteers, and has dealt with 10 callouts in the last year alone.