RNLI's D class lifeboat named Dennis-Audrey to fulfil couple's dream
a special ceremony held yesterday (Saturday 6 May), Wicklow RNLI
officially named its new D class lifeboat, Dennis-Audrey.
Delamer, chair of the RNLI Council in Ireland, accepted the lifeboat
on behalf of the RNLI before handing her over into the care of Wicklow
Phylis Whyte, former chair of the Wicklow
RNLI fundraising branch pictured officially naming the D class lifeboat
Dennis-Audrey during the naming ceremony at Wicklow lifeboat station.
funding for the new lifeboat came from Gladys Audrey Deakin, known
as Audrey, who lived in Coventry, and left her residuary estate
to the RNLI.
Audrey and her late husband Dennis loved holidays by the sea and
were impressed by the work of the charity's volunteers. It was their
dream that their bequest be used to fund a lifeboat and that it
would be named after them.
The couple were represented at the ceremony by Audrey's solicitor
Michelle Gavin who handed the lifeboat to the RNLI.
In his address, Mr Delamer said that one may be forgiven for thinking
that we knew little about Audrey as Michelle's relationship with
her began posthumously as executor of her will.
he continued, 'we know a great deal about her through one simple
action; she has provided us with this life-saving vessel. That vessel
has found a home here in Wicklow and will go on to save many lives
and bring countless loved ones home. That one fact says a great
deal indeed about Audrey and we will remember her for her generosity
and her humanitarianism for many years to come.'
Phylis Whyte, former chair of the Wicklow RNLI fundraising branch
had the honour of officially naming the lifeboat during the ceremony.
on their new D class lifeboat Dennis-Audrey are crew members Connie
O'Gara, helm Alan Goucher, Dean Mulvihill and Paul Sillery with
donor representative Michelle Gavin, David Delamer, chair of the
Irish Council of the RNLI, Des Davitt, Wicklow RNLI Lifeboat Operations
Manager and Owen Medland, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager
Davitt, Wicklow RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said the naming
ceremony and service of dedication was a wonderful occasion in the
history of the lifeboat station, and paid tribute to the generosity
of Dennis and Audrey Deakin.
following the ceremony he said: 'This new craft which will be housed
and work alongside our all-weather lifeboat, gives our volunteer
crew the power, equipment and rescue platform they need to keep
those who use the sea safe.
rescue is powered by our generous supporters, people like Dennis
and Audrey. Their kind and selfless gift will help ensure we in
Wicklow are ready for the next call, wherever and whenever it comes.
For that, the RNLI and everyone at Wicklow lifeboat station will
be forever grateful to them.
Mr Davitt paid tribute to the volunteers at Wicklow RNLI saying
it was they who would give the new boat life: 'Their commitment
and ongoing attendance for training means that they are highly proficient
in the operation of both our lifeboats. Further testament of the
dedication of the crew is their knowledge that they may risk their
own lives in the service of others. There is nothing greater that
a person could offer and they deserve nothing less than the best
lifeboat, equipment and training that money can buy.'
thanked the local fundraising branch too, for their untiring work
and praised the generosity of the people of Wicklow and further
afield for helping to raise funds to enable the station to continue
to save lives at sea.
added that while this was a time for celebration it was also a time
to acknowledge the risks taken by all emergency service personnel
in the service of others. A minutes silence was observed at the
start of the naming ceremony in remembrance of five brave members
of the Irish Coast Guard who lost their lives in the past year,
Catriona Lucas, Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Ciaran Smith and Paul
RNLI female crew members Carol Flahive, Amy O'Neill, Brid Seoighe,
Lisa O'Leary and Deputy Launching Authority Mary Aldridge.
year, Wicklow RNLI which also has an all-weather lifeboat launched
37 times and rescued 38 people. The all-weather Tyne class lifeboat
Annie Blaker launched 21 times bringing 28 people to safety while
the inshore lifeboat launched 16times bringing 10 people to safety.
new inshore lifeboat is replacing the Sheringham Shantymen, which
was on service for 10 years at Wicklow RNLI. The lifeboat which
was named after the Sheringham Shantymen was funded by money raised
at their concerts. During its time in Wicklow, the lifeboat rescued
96 people, seven dogs and a farmer's sheep.
introduced into the RNLI fleet in 1963, the design of the inflatable
D class lifeboat continues to evolve to meet changes in demand and
is the workhorse of the RNLI's fleet and is ideal for working close
inshore, near rocks or in shallow water in moderate conditions.
It can be righted by the crew if it capsizes and is also part of
the RNLI Flood Rescue Teams fleet of boats.
highly manoeuvrable lifeboat, the D class can operate closer to
shore than Wicklow's all-weather lifeboat and comes into her own
for searches and rescues in the surf, shallow water and confined
locations - often close to cliffs, among rocks and even inside caves.
lifeboat station was established in Wicklow in 1857. The first lifeboat
was a 30ft rowing boat.
In 1911 the boathouse was adapted and the station's first motor
lifeboat, the first for Ireland, arrived.
In 1989, the boathouse was adapted once again and the slipway extended
for the station's new Tyne class lifeboat. The adaptation to the
boathouse included improved crew facilities and additional extensions
for the refurbished winch and a souvenir sales outlet. The slipway
was extended by 24 metres.
D class lifeboat first went on service in Wicklow in 1995 with a
new boathouse extension for housing the lifeboat completed in 1997.
crowd of well-wishers turned up to see the lifeboat officially named
with a bottle of champagne poured over the side of the boat by Phylis
Whyte. Following the ceremony the crowd gathered around the harbour
wall to see the lifeboat launch and watch as helm Alan Goucher,
Connie O'Gara, Dean Mulvihill and Paul Sillery performed a simulated
the guests officiating at the ceremony were Judge Gerard Haughton,
chair of the Lifeboat Management Group who welcomed guests and opened
proceedings; Michelle Gavin, representative of the donor, who handed
the lifeboat over to the RNLI, David Delamer, chair of the RNLI
Council for Ireland, who accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the
RNLI and handed her into the care of the lifeboat station and Des
Davitt, Wicklow RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, who accepted the
lifeboat on behalf of the station. A vote of thanks at the end was
read out by Jill Clancy-Harold, Wicklow RNLI fundraising chair.
Donal Roche, parish priest, and Reverends Ken Ru and Jack Kinkead,
led the Service of Dedication. Sean Olohan and the Wicklow Swim
for Life choir led the congregation in song.