Lough Derg RNLI honours two decades of service

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Galway Daily news Lough Derg RNLI honours two decades of service

The Loug Derg RNLI held a surprise leaving party for Assessor Trainer Helena Duggan, to honour almost 20 years of service as she leaves.

Since 2003, Helena has been teaching and assessing volunteers at the Lough Derg RNLI Station, training them to carry out lifesaving work on the lake.

After almost two decades at Lough Derg she is departing for other pastures, but will continue as an Assessor Trainer at a different station in Ireland.

Christine O’Malley, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Lough Derg RNLI thanked Helena for her “years of teaching and preparing volunteers, for your wisdom and advice, your stories and laughter”.

This week, as she came in for her final day of training sessions on Wednesday, she was treated to a surprise leaving party in her honour.

As the classroom session came to a close, RNLI volunteers arrived with homemade cakes and scones.

Helena was presented with two especially commissioned pieces of art; a 3D woodcut of Lough Derg by artist Henri Bocxe, and a ceramic sculpture by artist Annemarie Mullan.

Helm Owen Cavanagh said he was “sad to be saying goodbye”, and gave his and the crew’s warmest thanks for her “years of friendship and teaching”.

The only remaining crew from the 2003 intake, Eleanor Hooker, volunteer helm and Lifeboat Press Officer shared memories of how Helena prepared her and other volunteers for their roles ahead with great patience and commitment.

“As was mentioned at the party, Helena is an inspirational character, she sets a standard to which all of us aspire, but as she said last evening, she is still around and will be there for any of us should we need to chat.”

“Seán Ginnelly is the new RNLI Assessor Trainer for the station and it was wonderful to see the comfortable and immediate rapport with him and all at Lough Derg RNLI.”