Donegal woman Susie Harkin is encouraging volunteers to follow in her footsteps to fundraise for the RNLI.
The RNLI has issued an appeal for fundraising volunteers to join its lifesaving crew at branches in Arranmore, Downings/Carrigart, Ardara/Glenties/Portnoo, The Rosses, Donegal Town and Bundoran.
Just like the charity’s lifeboats, the RNLI’s fundraising team need a dedicated volunteer crew. Volunteers are at the heart of the RNLI and make up 95% of its people. They are ordinary people who do extraordinary things and without them, the organisation couldn’t continue to save lives at sea.
Susie Harkin is the secretary of the Ardara, Glenties and Portnoo Fundraising Branch having first got involved five years ago. She was approached by a committee member to join, and Susie says she didn’t need to think twice.
‘The branch needed new members at the time,’ Susie explains, ‘and my neighbour’s son who is the chair came to me and asked if I would get involved. I jumped at the opportunity. Living in a rural location 200 yards from the sea and having a husband who fishes part-time with his brother and is always on a boat, I know the importance of the lifeboat in an emergency. I felt if I could help in any way then I wanted to be involved. I have witnessed many search and rescue missions over the years including one for a friend who was never found so I know a lot about the lifesaving activity, and I admire it so much.
As for what she finds rewarding about being involved, Susie says for her it is knowing the difference the funds raised can make: ‘The reward is knowing our work helps to enable the rescue missions and contributes to saving lives. I like to help and it feels good to know that my help in a small way has helped others. We also have good fun while doing something for a great cause. Be it to raise funds for a rope or kit for the crew, we are helping and the craic is amazing.’
Mary Creedon, RNLI Fundraising Partnership Lead hails the selfless efforts of people like Susie: ‘Without our volunteers, the RNLI simply would not be able to operate the way it does today. With 92% of the RNLI’s income coming from donations, the charity relies on the generosity of supporters and on the dedication of our fundraising volunteers to help raise essential funds. Thousands of community fundraising volunteers organise a wide range of activities and events each year, contributing their time, energy and skills to raise money to save lives at sea. Some of our fundraisers have been volunteering for many years while some just join us for a few months in the year depending on what their commitments allow.
‘We now really need to bolster that support and grow our volunteer fundraising crew. If you like to have fun, enjoy meeting new people and want to join a motivated and enthusiastic team, we encourage you to find out more and apply. You will learn new skills, gain experience and have the rewarding satisfaction of giving back. The RNLI will also provide all the necessary training and support so you can carry out your chosen role effectively.’
There are many ways people can give a little or a lot of their time to support the RNLI and make their own lifesaving difference.
To find out more about how you can sign up to be a fundraising volunteer at the RNLI in Arranmore, Downings/Carrigart, Ardara/Glenties/Portnoo, The Rosses, Donegal Town or Bundoran, or to apply, click on this link rnli.org/OneCrewVolunteers