Man tells of inspiration to join lifeboat crew after losing father to sea tragedy

Crew member Mike Faragher

Crew member Mike Faragher

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There are many reasons why someone may consider joining up to serve on the crew of a lifeboat.

Maybe for a sense of adventure or a sense of civic duty will be the influential factor that makes someone give up their free time, and to put their lives at risk to help the safety of others.

Peel Lifeboat is currently looking for volunteers and perhaps one man’s story will inspire you to offer your help.

Michael Faragher is a probationary crew member on the Peel Lifeboat, and he had a very personal reason which caused him to volunteer.

On July 26, 2013, Michael’s father, Harold Faragher, and his friend Stuart Curphy failed to return from a fishing trip off Blue Point, Andreas. Following an extensive search which involved lifeboats from Peel, Ramsey and Port Patrick, in Scotland, as well as the RAF rescue helicopters from Anglesey, their bodies were found the next day.

‘At the time I was working in France,’ said Michael, speaking from the launch ramp at the Peel Lifeboat boathouse. ‘I received a phone call to tell me that my dad and Stuey were missing. So I came back to the island.’

‘Afterwards, one day I came down to the boathouse to sit and have a cup of tea, and that was it. I looked over at the boathouse and just thought “I want to do something. I want to pay something back.”

Michael signed up as a crewman on the ‘Ruby Clery’, the Peel Lifeboat, and today is half way through his assessment, after which he will be a fully trained crewman.

‘The training is fantastic,’ he said. ‘I love it. Especially when you go down to Poole, where you do your sea survival training. They really look after you there. It’s just fantastic.’

The opportunity for Michael to join the lifeboat service helped him greatly in the months after his father’s death.

He says he now sees his fellow crewmen as a second family, and he believes that the friendships he has built up, and the work he has become involved in within the lifeboat service, has helped him greatly since the tragedy last year.

And, poignantly, Michael was involved in one call out earlier this year, when the boat was launched to go to the aid of a small fishing vessel that had run into difficulties sailing between the Mull of Galloway and Kippford in Scotland.

‘We went out for a small fishing boat, a few months ago, called the “Molly”,’ he said. ‘Just to go out to them, these two guys who were stranded out in the middle of the Irish Sea, and just to give assistance, to get them safe again, and back to dry land, it was great feeling. Just to help people, and to be there when we’re needed. It’s quite hard for me to explain, but it is a great feeling.’

Michael added: ‘If you fancy a life at sea, or if you fancy giving something back, come down and give it a try.’

‘You don’t have to go out on the boat. You could be shore crew, because it’s important to get the boat out on the water as it is to out to the casualty. We have a great time, we have a good crack, we do our training. We help each other out. We’re just one big family.’

If you feel inspired by Michael’s story or have just been looking for an opportunity to do some voluntary work, Peel lifeboat is looking for volunteers in every aspect of its operations.

The RNLI is run and funded almost totally by volunteers and not all of them go to sea.

There are several ways in which you can help.

The front line of course is boat crew and even if you are not a sea-going person full professional training is given. The main requirement is that you live within easy reach of the lifeboat station as call out times are usually in the region of seven minutes.

The shore crew is an equally important part of the operations making sure that the lifeboat is launched, recovered and serviced each time it goes to sea.

Finally, without the fundraisers none of the operations would happen as the RNLI is funded totally by donations without any government input at all.

So if you would like more information on any aspect of the RNLI contact Paul Cain at the Peel boathouse on Peel breakwater either by calling in personally or ringing 842309, or call Mal Kelly on 490251.

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