Queen’s Award given to Search and Rescue

Foyle Search and Rescue workers, Gemma Hunter, Pat Carlin, Paul Smith and Daryl Harrigan.
Foyle Search and Rescue workers, Gemma Hunter, Pat Carlin, Paul Smith and Daryl Harrigan.

Foyle Search & Rescue has been honoured with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Established by local people in July 1993 in response to the alarming number of deaths by suicide in the river Foyle, the charity has become an integral part of the community, recognised as the fourth emergency service, offering 24-hour cover and a visible presence along the riverbanks and bridges on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

Since inception the team has rescued 329 people from the river and helped over 2,700 potentially suicidal people.

Chairman Stephen Twells, who met the Queen and rubbed shoulders with other winners at a garden party at Buckingham Palace on Thursday, May 19, said: “To have been nominated was praise enough but to have won this award is fantastic recognition for the work our volunteers do. Their dedication and passion, to save lives, makes a real difference to our community. Our Charity is a shining example of all that is wonderful about the community spirit in our city and one which we are all extremely proud of.”

Foyle Search and Rescue will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant for the Borough County of Londonderry later this summer.

Among those to congratulate them was Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, who said: “The huge amount of work and commitment these organisations put into their local communities is surpassed only by the passion and motivation of the volunteers. I hope these groups continue to inspire others to get involved and make a positive impact so that we can continue to build a more compassionate society.”