Foyle Search & Rescue ‘levels up’ with donations for drones from video games developer and other donors

Foyle Search and Rescue has announced a refresh and upgrade of its drone programme, following a generous £39,000 donation from supporters in the local video games industry.

Saturday, 6th March 2021, 10:30 am

The total donation comprises equal contributions from local video game developer Hypixel Studios, parent company Riot Games Social Impact Fund, the owners of the Hypixel Minecraft server, Hypixel Studios CEO Aaron Donaghey, and also an anonymous donor.

Speaking about the donation, Sean McCafferty, Chief Operating Officer of Hypixel Studios, said: “As locals, we’re hugely supportive of the important work that Foyle Search and Rescue do and happy for this opportunity to help them expand their capabilities.”

Additionally, CEO of Hypixel Studios, Aaron ‘Noxy’ Donaghey, has joined the Foyle Search and Rescue drone team on an ongoing basis as an auxiliary volunteer.

A donation totalling £39,000 from local video game developer Hypixel Studios, parent company Riot Games Social Impact fund, the owners of the Hypixel Minecraft server, Hypixel Studios CEO Aaron Donaghey, and an anonymous donor has enabled Foyle Search & Rescue to upgrade its drone program. Pictured at the Hypixel Studios in Patrick Street yesterday afternoon are, from left, Shay Glenn, Officer Manager Hypixels Studios, Sean Durnin, FSR Drone Team, Pat Carlin, FSR Chairman, Sean McCafferty, Chief Operating Officer of Hypixel Studios, Paul Smith, FSR Drone Team Co-ordinator and Holly Johnston, Recruitment Officer Hypixel Studios. DER2109GS – 009

Jeffrey Burrell, Director of Social Impact at Riot Games, said: “Riot Games is proud to support this important programme for Foyle Search and Rescue, and know that it will make a meaningful and long-lasting impact for the community.”

He added: “We encourage anyone, anywhere to reach out to a professional or to seek help and resources if they continually feel down and that something is just not right.”

Pat Carlin, newly appointed Chairman of Foyle Search and Rescue, added: “We’re very appreciative of this donation.

“This new fleet of drones will allow us to expand our search and rescue capabilities as the drone team are now able to deploy at night time and in heavy rain or wind thanks to weatherproofing and high end thermal cameras.”

Foyle Search & Rescue members Pat Carlin, Chairman, Paul Smith, Drone Team Co-ordinator and Sean Durnin, Drone Team, pictured at Hypixel Studios Derry with upgraded drone equipment facilitated by a donation totalling £39,000 from local video game developer Hypixel Studios, parent company Riot Games Social Impact fund, the owners of the Hypixel Minecraft server, Hypixel Studios CEO Aaron Donaghey, and an anonymous donor. The drone is named Delta November (DN1) after FSR team member localman Danny Nelis who died on 12 January 2019. DER2109GS - 010

In total, the donation has allowed Foyle Search and Rescue to purchase six new drones of varying cost and capabilities, alongside necessary supplementary equipment such as additional batteries.

The flagship drone has been named ‘Delta November 1’ in honour of the late Danny Nelis, co-founder of the FSR drone/UAV program.

Paul Smith, Foyle Search and Rescue Drone Team Coordinator, said: “As the other co-founder of the drone team, and speaking with the blessing of Danny’s family, we feel that naming the drone after his call sign is a fitting tribute.

“Together we set up the project five years ago, and the drone programme continues on as part of his legacy going from strength to strength.

“Danny will always be remembered at the charity.”

Foyle Search and Rescue continues to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic and remains on call 24/7.