Nerves were jangling when the RNLI Saxon Flyers from Donaghadee piled into the station landrover last Saturday morning just after 7.15am to head for Belfast in what was going to be a tough day. The training was done, now the gruelling test over nineteen and a half miles was before our brave six volunteers.
As they arrived at the Odyssey for the start, the mood was quite but confident. The intrepid six took to the road just after 8am with crew members in support in the station landrover and back up vehicles.
Geordie Hackworth set the pace with the girls supposedly doing the skate in relays. Not these girls, remember they’re from Donaghadee and they were ignoring team orders and were going to skate all the way.
They made great time past Holywood along the carriage way to Bangor and were delighted on arriving in the town to find crowds of people cheering them on as they skated down the main street. They only found out later the crowds were for the local T.A. receiving the Freedom of the Borough.
They stopped for a quick lunch at Bangor RNLI station where volunteers offered food, drink and massages, before setting off on the last leg, by now legs were getting really tired and the heat was being to tell. The long climb past Orlock and the state of the roads, loose stones and cracked pavements tested the resolve of the guys, but in true lifeboat style they kept going until the sight and cheers of the waiting crowds in Donaghadee urged them home and across the finishing line, exhausted but triumphant.
The welcome was terrific, champagne flowed, hugs and kisses from families and supporters and a party that went on into the night.
Geordie Hackworth whose idea the skate had been said he was delighted that they all were safely back, admittedly with lots of cuts and bruises but with over £3700 raised it had all been worthwhile for a great cause. And he thanked the girls who had given their all and also for all the sponsorship received.