Donaghadee Lifeboat

Lifeboat ladies celebrate 40 years of fundraising for RNLI

IT started over tea in the Imperial Hotel on a stormy night in March 1975 when six women got together to discuss what they could do to support the work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s brave volunteers.

Last week former members of Donaghadee Ladies Guild got together again to celebrate 40 years in which they have raised up to £30,000 a year in support of the charity that saves lives at sea.

Around 50 people attended the celebration lunch at the Moat Inn in the town.

Over four decades cash came tumbling in from cake sales, coffee mornings, afternoon teas, wine and cheese parties, supper dances and jumble sales. The Guild’s first chair was Hazel McNamara. Two members of her family have served on the Lifeboat crew.

She said, “I particularly recall an appeal for a new Lifeboat. We raised £950 at a barn dance. That was a lot of money in 1985 and made a substantial contribution toward the funding of the new Lifeboat which was called The City of Belfast.”

The Guild opened a shop in 1985 and in 2005 was incorporated into a formal RNLI fundraising committee which meets monthly at the Lifeboat Station. Committee chair Evelyn Bennett paid tribute to ’40 years of achievement by a fantastic team.’

Hazel McNamara and Evelyn Bennett cut the cake the celebrate 40 years of raising funds for the charity that saves lives at sea.