By Dan Walsh
The RNLI is looking for new shop volunteers to join its lifesaving teams at Courtown, Wexford and Kilmore Quay and just like the charity’s lifeboats, the RNLI’s retail team need a dedicated volunteer crew -people of all ages and abilities – who can give a little time to help save lives at sea.
Rose Murphy is the RNLI Shop Manager at Courtown RNLI and a member of the original team who established the shop when it first opened 31 years ago.
“It was my husband Jim who got me involved when there was a community inshore lifeboat in Courtown.’ Rose explains. ‘When the RNLI took over in 1990, he was one of four senior helms and the training co-ordinator, and he is now a Deputy Launching Authority at the station. I have been on the fundraising committee since it began and have had many roles including P.R.O., secretary and shop manager.
“I have worked in retail all my life in Gorey and love everything about it and I have always had a great love for the lifeboat. There is a team of seven shop volunteers here and they are unbelievable. The shop is open seven days a week from May to October – all day for four days and for a few hours each of the other days,” concluded Rose.
Meanwhile, Johnny Moore is the Shop Manager at Kilmore Quay RNLI.“I was shore crew first, helping to launch the all-weather lifeboat when there was a call out. When I saw an opportunity for the shop in the station to be open, I got involved in 1996 and have been helping out since. I enjoy meeting people and the craic. We had a great season last year and the funds raised make a difference.
Encouraging others to get involved, Johnny said: ‘You can gain some invaluable skills and training whilst volunteering at a shop and become part of an incredible team. If you enjoy meeting and interacting with people, are confident in handling money, it really is a role you will love.’
RNLI shops started out as simple cake stalls run by volunteers to raise money for their local lifeboat station.
“These stalls started selling commemorative RNLI products in around 1920 and quickly moved on to selling souvenirs and Christmas cards with all profits helping save lives at sea,” said Pauline McGann, RNLI Community Manager, who added; “Today, we have over 170 RNLI shops around the coast and inland, all of which are still run by our dedicated volunteers. They attract many visitors throughout the year and stock an excellent range of unique souvenirs and gifts.
“The pandemic unfortunately hit our shops hard as they closed for periods of time in line with Covid-19 restrictions. We were delighted when we could reopen them safely in accordance with government guidance and are looking forward to welcoming our visitors in 2022. To do this successfully, we want to grow our team of shop volunteers and are looking for people who enjoy interacting with others, can help us to provide a high level of customer service and ensure our shops continue to be friendly and welcoming places.”