RNLI’s Gregory recognised at awards

Gregory McDaid pictured with RNLI chairperson  Charles Hunter-Pease.
Gregory McDaid pictured with RNLI chairperson Charles Hunter-Pease.

A dedicated volunteer with Lough Swilly RNLI has been recognised at the charity’s annual presentation of awards.

RNLI mechanic Gregory McDaid was awarded a 20 year Long Service Badge at the event, which was staged at the Belfast Harbour Commissioner’s Office on Friday night.

Guests heard how Gregory was a familiar face in lifeboating circles in Ireland and well known for his ‘larger than life personality.’

Having volunteered with Lough Swilly RNLI from 1996, Gregory had worked his way up the volunteer ladder and eventually became a full-time station mechanic in 2008.

Having the first all-weather Shannon class lifeboat in Ireland in itself was going to be a challenge but the audience heard how Gregory stepped up to the mark and took things in his stride.

In his spare time, Gregory also volunteered for the RNLI flood rescue team and had been deployed on a number of occasions.

Lough Swilly, the gathering was told, had seen its fair share of high profile call outs,

the most recent of which was the harrowing tragedy of Buncrana pier earlier this year. Lifeboat crew deal with these tragic incidents and are often first on scene.

Guests heard how Gregory was a vital part of his station and provided support to his team.

Twenty-one volunteers were honoured at the awards, which were opened by Christopher Brooke, a member of the RNLI Council of Ireland.

Sean Boyle from the Rosses Branch also received a Gold Badge during the ceremony.

James Shovlin, also from the Rosses Branch, was awarded a Gold Badge.

Speaking at the ceremony, outgoing RNLI chairman Charles Hunter-Pease said it was truly humbling to think of the collective years’ experience and care that was in the room.

He said: “To everyone one of you receiving an award – whether your service has been at sea or ashore – wear it with pride. It is the mark of someone very special, selflessly dedicated to the lives of others.”

Gregory’s accolade is the second for Lough Swilly RNLI recently. The crew was recently awarded a Marine Ministerial Letter of Appreciation for Meritorious Service from Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Shane Ross, T.D.