Courtmacsherry RNLI welcomes donor to name new Shannon class lifeboat ‘Val Adnams’
A huge crowd turned out in sunshine on the afternoon of Saturday 9th September, to witness the naming of the new Shannon class lifeboat, Val Adnams, which is based at Courtmacsherry RNLI lifeboat station, in Cork. The state-of-the-art lifeboat was officially named by the principal donor, Val Adnams, who had made the journey from her home in Idaho, in the United States.
Guests at the ceremony included Lord Mayor of County Cork, Councillor Frank O’Flynn, Tánaiste Michéal Martin, RNLI Head of Region Anna Classon, RNLI Director of Engineering and Supply Jamie Chestnutt, Coast Guard Head of Operations, Gerard O’Flynn, and a large number of search and rescue colleagues from local lifeboat stations and Coast Guard Units.
Guest of honour was principal donor for the lifeboat, Val Adnams, who travelled to Courtmacsherry with a small group of friends and family. Ms. Adnams wore a Stetson and cowboy boots especially for the occasion, in honour of her American home, where she has lived for the past number of years. A lifelong supporter of the RNLI and an avid sailor and sportsperson, she grew up in Preston and Weymouth. Her respect and admiration for the RNLI increased as she witnessed the callouts of the local Weymouth Lifeboat going to the help of others in distress at sea. At 23, she moved to Washington DC where she worked on Capitol Hill for some years, before meeting her partner Ed and settling in Idaho.
Speaking before the large crowd Ms. Adnams said, ‘It is a great honour and privilege to have funded this Shannon class lifeboat. It warms my heart to know that this lifeboat will be helping the crew to keep the waters around Courtmacsherry lifeboat station safe. Most of the crew are volunteers who give up their time to help others. This lifeboat is the best of its kind and the crew who will use it, deserve nothing less.’
The lifeboat was received on behalf of station by the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Operations Manager, Brian O’Dywer, who opened his remarks by paying tribute to his predecessor, Gerry Turner, who had passed away after an illness, the day before. He went on to thank the donor for her generous gift and praised the capability of the new lifeboat, which has introduced the latest in marine propulsion technology to the station. The improved control and manoeuvrability of the Shannon Class lifeboat will mean easier motion at sea, with safety to the fore. The vessel has an expected lifespan of fifty years. He concluded, ‘I have every confidence that this new lifeboat will continue to provide a safe environment for our crew and a first-class rescue service for seafarers in need of assistance at sea.’
The lifeboat is replacing the station’s previous All-Weather lifeboat Frederick Story Cockburn, which over its life at the station went on 370 call outs. The ceremony included a service of dedication and was closed by a rousing chorus of the Phil Coulter lifeboat anthem ‘Home from the Sea,’ which was led by the former station mechanic Michéal Hurley. The lifeboat did a display in the harbour for the watching crowd and the Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 117, did a flyover. Ms. Adnams was given a personal tour of the lifeboat by the crew and poured champagne over the bow of the lifeboat, as tradition dictates.
It was a long day for a number of the crew and station management as the lifeboat had been launched at 5.20am that morning to reports of a swimmer in difficulty off Inchydoney. The callout had ended successfully.