A young skipper from Arranmore Island has become the first RNLI volunteer to be commemorated on a new memorial lifeboat.
Lee Early was 26 years old when he lost his life in a pier tragedy on Arranmore Island in November 2019.
The popular skipper was given the posthumous honour of being the first name to be added to a new all-weather RNLI lifeboat, which will proudly carry the names of up to 10,000 people who have passed away. The lifeboat is the first of its kind to be based in Ireland.
Lee Early was the Deputy Coxswain at Arranmore RNLI and a Skipper of the local ferry, who loved the sea and the charity that saved lives at sea.
In a tribute to him, the charity will put his name as the first one on the new lifeboat, contained in the letters RNLI, alongside others whose loved ones want to commemorate them.
The RNLI’s ‘Launch a Memory’ fundraising campaign invites members of the public and supporters of the charity to commemorate a loved one by making a donation online and submitting that person’s name to be featured within the lifeboat’s letters (RNLI) and numbers. Once built, the Shannon class will be permanently based at Clifden in Connemara.
Lee’s father Jimmy Early, Arranmore RNLI lifeboat Coxswain said, “I am so proud that my son’s name will be on the Clifden lifeboat that will be stationed off the west coast of Ireland. We live on an island off a larger island and so the sea is in our blood. I am very proud to be a lifeboat Coxswain, and I was so proud of Lee when he followed in my footsteps. He is with us always. Every time we launch the lifeboat, we think of him, and this is a very meaningful way to commemorate him.”
Mr Early continued: “I know his name will be joined by thousands of others whose loved ones want them remembered in such a special way. That lifeboat will launch many times in its lifetime and bring many people to safety. I couldn’t think of a better way for someone to be remembered.”
Daniel Curran, RNLI Engagement Lead, said: “We are so pleased to be able to bring ‘Launch A Memory’ to Ireland, with a lifeboat that will save lives off our coast for generations. Everyone who supports the campaign will receive email updates about the lifeboat, keeping them informed of all major developments on its journey to going on service and saving lives at sea in Clifden.
“RNLI lifeboat crews are busier than ever. The ‘Launch a Memory’ campaign, while a fundraiser for the charity, is also a way for us to say thank you to those people who support the lifeboat service and our volunteer lifeboat crew.”
There are three ways people can get the name of a loved one on the Launch a Memory lifeboat.
Donations can be made online at rnli.org/launchamemory by phone on 01-895 1800 (Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm) or alternatively by post to RNLI, Airside, Swords, County Dublin K67 WA24.
There is a suggested donation of €30 with space to commemorate up to 10,000 names on the lifeboat.Tags: