A Northern Ireland charity has hailed as heroic after it was confirmed they had now saved more than 350 lives in emergency operations and had taken action to help to prevent more than 3,000 deaths by suicide since its foundation.
Commonly referred to as Londonderry's fourth emergency service, Foyle Search and Rescue was set up in the city in 1993 following a string of local tragedies.
From its foundation up until the end of June 2017, a total of 359 lives have been saved, and 3,126 deaths by suicide prevented.
For the month of June alone, its volunteers were involved in 183 incidents, with 10 people rescued from the river alive, and 68 people taken away from the river’s edge to a place of safety.
There were also more than 100 cases which were deemed causes for concern in the proximity of the river that same month.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Maolíosa McHugh said the charity was very much at the heart of the local community.
Praising the volunteers, he said: “I have spent time with them and they took me out on a tour of the river to experience the work they do.
“Foyle Search and Rescue carry out such a vital service in the community and they deserve everyone’s support.
“Not only do they prevent certain loss of life, they also play a very vital role when somebody is lost in helping to recover them.”
He added that the charity was also involved in many other projects including the remembrance plot next to their club headquarters.
“They are to be commended on their work and their professionalism and their very, very high standards,” he added.
The Lifeline helpline is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Anyone of any age living in the north can call Lifeline free of charge on 0808 808 8000 if they are experiencing distress or despair. When you phone Lifeline you can talk to a professionally trained counsellor, who will listen and give help and support, in confidence.