Val Adnams from Idaho (USA) the major donor, on the bow of the RNLB Val Adnams with the crew of the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat. Also included are Brian O’Dwyer, LOM and Morgan Stockley, nephew of Val Adnams. Photo: Martin Walsh

Big turnout for naming of Courtmac RNLI lifeboat

Under sunny skies, a large crowd gathered last week to witness the official naming of the new Shannon class lifeboat, named Val Adnams, which will be based at Courtmacsherry RNLI lifeboat station.

The state-of-the-art lifeboat was officially named by the principal donor, Val Adnams, who had made the journey from her home in Idaho, in the United States.

Ms Adnams wore a Stetson and cowboy boots especially for the occasion, in honour of her American home, where she has lived for the past number of years. A lifelong supporter of the RNLI and an avid sailor and sportsperson, she grew up in Preston and Weymouth. At 23, she moved to Washington DC where she worked on Capitol Hill for some years, before meeting her partner Ed and settling in Idaho.

Speaking before the large crowd Ms Adnams said: “It is a great honour and privilege to have funded this Shannon class lifeboat. It warms my heart to know that this lifeboat will be helping the crew to keep the waters around Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Station safe. Most of the crew are volunteers who give up their time to help others. This lifeboat is the best of its kind and the crew who will use it, deserve nothing less.”

The lifeboat was received on behalf of station by the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Operations Manager Brian O’Dywer, who opened his remarks by paying tribute to his predecessor, Gerry Turner, who had passed away after an illness, the day before. He went on to thank the donor for her generous gift and praised the capability of the new lifeboat, which has introduced the latest in marine propulsion technology to the station.

The improved control and manoeuvrability of the Shannon Class lifeboat will mean easier motion at sea, with safety to the fore. The vessel has an expected lifespan of fifty years. He concluded: “I have every confidence that this new lifeboat will continue to provide a safe environment for our crew and a first class rescue service for seafarers in need of assistance at sea.”

The lifeboat is replacing the station’s previous all-weather lifeboat Frederick Story Cockburn, which over its life at the station went on 370 callouts. The ceremony included a service of dedication and was closed by a rousing chorus of the Phil Coulter lifeboat anthem ‘Home from the Sea’.

The lifeboat did a display in the harbour for the watching crowd and the Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 117, did a flyover. Ms Adnams was given a personal tour of the lifeboat by the crew and poured champagne over the bow of the lifeboat. Guests at the ceremony included Lord Mayor of County Cork, Councillor Frank O’Flynn, Tánaiste Michéal Martin and RNLI Head of Region Anna Classon.