Groom’s wedding speech is interrupted by sea emergency

The newly-married couple, pictured on the Lough Swilly RNLI lifeboat, before the sea emergency. Picture: Jay Doherty Photography

The newly-married couple, pictured on the Lough Swilly RNLI lifeboat, before the sea emergency. Picture: Jay Doherty Photography

A new groom’s wedding speech was interrupted when his crewmates from Lough Swilly RNLI had to flee the wedding to deal with an emergency at sea.

Buncrana man Francy Burns wed his sweetheart, Carndonagh woman Helen McFarland, on Saturday, 8th October in a wedding attended by their family, friends and the volunteers with Lough Swilly RNLI.

However, it wasn’t all plain sailing as after the vows were exchanged and Francy took the microphone to make his wedding speech, the lifeboat pagers went off and the volunteer lifeboat crew jumped to their feet and raced out of the room and to the callout.

The incident was a reminder to Helen of what she can expect married to a lifeboat volunteer.

As Francy was preparing to follow his lifeboat colleagues and head out the door to the callout, the Coxswain assured him they had enough crew and he could stay where he was and enjoy the day. The callout was to a vessel with one person on board which had lost engine power and had been drifting for three hours.

Lough Swilly RNLI launched their Shannon class lifeboat and brought it to safety, with the lifeboat crew returning to the wedding some hours later.

As the wedding reception was held in the Inishowen Gateway Hotel in Buncrana, Francy had the perfect view out the window down on the berth from where the lifeboat is launched.

Commenting on the wedding day, Lough Swilly RNLI volunteer and new husband Francy Burns said: “It was certainly a day of mixed emotions. I married the most beautiful and amazing woman but when I saw the crew stand up to head out for the lifeboat shout during my speech my first thoughts were to follow them. You never know what you are launching to but thankfully it was fairly straightforward. Helen understands how I feel about the lifeboat and she is fully supportive. You never know, I might even persuade her to sign up too.”

Lough Swilly RNLI lifeboat volunteer crewmember and press officer Joe Joyce added: “The launch sort of added to the whole day. You couldn’t have planned it better. Everyone with Lough Swilly RNLI wish Francy and Helen every happiness on their marriage and we will see Francy down at the station for our next shout.”