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Clifden RNLI to name Shannon class lifeboat St Christopher in honour of donor with a love of travel

The new Shannon class lifeboat based at Clifden RNLI in county Galway will be officially named St Christopher during a ceremony at the Connemara lifeboat station at 12 noon on Saturday 22 April. The lifeboat, which went on service in May of last year, was funded by a legacy from Mr. Christopher Harris and will be named St Christopher, as per the wishes of his family.

While Christopher Harris settled in Surrey, he had a life-long love of travel and cared deeply for the plight of others. He also held a deep admiration and respect for the work of the lifeboat crews. Members of Christopher’s family, including his daughters Philippa Harris and Gill Hinton, as well as Gill’s husband Steve Hinton and Christopher’s daughter-in-law Julie Harris, will be making the journey to Galway to be guests of honour at the naming ceremony on Saturday. Also in attendance will be members of Clifden RNLI and their families, as well as friends and supporters of the lifeboat station.

Clifden RNLI’s Shannon class lifeboat is a special one in the Irish fleet as it also carries the names of over 10,000 people onboard, put there by members of the public through a special fundraising initiative for the charity called Launch a Memory.

Following the private naming ceremony there will be an opportunity for the public to get up close to the lifeboat, as the vessel will be beached at the back of the lifeboat station on Clifden beach between 2pm and 4pm. As the lifeboat is normally moored afloat, this is an opportunity for people to see the 10,000 names of loved ones, before it will return to its mooring at sea.

The Shannon class lifeboat is jet driven which gives the vessel increased manoeuvrability. It is the first RNLI lifeboat to be named after an Irish river, which was done in recognition of the service of the Irish lifeboat crews down through the years.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s lifeboat naming ceremony, John Brittain, Clifden RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘This is a very special occasion for our lifeboat station, and we are grateful to the late Christopher Harris for his generous legacy. We are looking forward to welcoming members of Christopher’s family here and we know we will be starting a lifelong friendship with them. We will be the proud custodians of the St Christopher for many years to come.’

‘I’d encourage people to come down to Clifden beach after the naming ceremony to see the lifeboat up close. I know there are many people who put names of loved ones on the lifeboat and we would love them to share this special event with Christopher’s family and the lifeboat community here in Clifden. This vessel will save many lives in the years ahead and bring our crews safely home. It’s a once in a lifetime occasion.’