Lough Derg RNLI Helm and former Lifeboat Press Officer, Eleanor Hooker has been awarded the RNLI’s ‘Excellence in Volunteering’ award in recognition of her outstanding contribution as a lifeboat volunteer.
The award recognises the special contribution of RNLI volunteers who have gone the extra mile, who make a difference whether they are outstanding ambassadors or unsung heroes who quietly ensure the success of every RNLI venture.
Niamh Stephenson RNLI Media Relations Manager travelled to Lough Derg to present an unsuspecting Eleanor with her award in front of the volunteer lifeboat crew, fundraisers, station management and their families. Below are extracts from the speech given before the presentation.
‘Eleanor Hooker was the Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer at Lough Derg RNLI for eleven years. In that time she has done an incredible job in raising the profile of the inland lifeboat station and bringing the wonderful work of the volunteer lifeboat crew to the attention of the wider community.’
‘Eleanor’s great gift as a lifeboat press officer was her empathy to the people rescued or in some sad cases recovered by the lifeboat crew. In all her communications she always conveyed the news of the lifeboat in a way that was respectful of the people they came into contact with and their families who were waiting for news. Her unfailing kindness and manner made her an incredible member of the media team and she was respected by all her colleagues.’
‘When the crew were in from a callout, often with Eleanor being Helm, she would stay behind to write up the press release or edit the footage from the lifeboat camera, if she had it. In doing this she made sure the news was current.’
‘She is one of the RNLI people that people ask about if when you are travelling around Ireland for the lifeboats. She has spoken passionately about her role on the crew on national and local media and mixes humour with the tougher aspects of search and rescue, always being respectful and mindful of her audience.
You would often hear of her following up with a casualty that was rescued, checking in on them if they were visitors to Lough Derg, to see if they had everything they needed. I’m extremely relieved that we haven’t lost her to the RNLI as she remains on as Helm.’