17 May 2022

Gallery: RNLI buoyed by fantastic Donegal support

Mary Bridget’s birthday fundraiser a great success

Lough Swilly RNLI has been buoyed by an amazing donation from a Donegal fishing community.

The wider Glengad community came together on March 3 past to celebrate the 90th Birthday of popular local lady, Mary Bridget McDaid, and raised €2,500 for the lifesaving organisation in the process.

Speaking to Inish Times, a delighted Mary Bridget said: “I had always wanted to give something to the RNLI, so I decided to do it when I was 90.”

Mary Bridget’s daughter, Tina, said, before the big birthday party, her mammy had said, ‘Sure what do you need when you are 90? I have everything I need,’ so she asked for donations for Lough Swilly RNLI instead of presents.

Tina added: “Mammy and our whole family would like to thank everybody who came to Glengad Community Centre on the night and made the party so great. Everyone thought it was a wonderful party.

“We would also like to thank the band, local musicians John McGeoghan and Albert Cunningham, because the music was brilliant. Thanks very much too to everyone who gave mammy a card or a present or who came on the night with a donation.

“We can’t thank our neighbours and friends enough, everyone who brought food or helped with the tea. Shane Byrne and the folks at Glengad Community Centre could not do enough for us. Mary Bridget wants to thank everybody,” said Tina.

Although she was born in Canada, Mary Bridget has lived most of her life in Inishowen.

According to Tina, she came home to the peninsula in 1939, when she was nine.

Tina said: “The RNLI has a special place in Mammy’s heart. My brother, David, drowned on September 20, 1987, in a fishing tragedy, which also claimed the life of my uncle, Barney, and my cousins, Paddy and Charlie. There boat was the ‘Boy Shaun.’

“If David had lived, he would have been 60 on the same day Mammy was 90. That is why mammy thought it would be nice to do something for the RNLI.

“As you know, in Glengad most of them are fishermen and would be very supportive of the RNLI.

“As a family, we would like to thank everyone who gave donations. We got so much, and mammy made it up to €2,500 because that is what she wanted to do. She was very happy to do that. We had a brilliant party. It was a nice community event,” said Tina.

Sadly, Mary Bridget’s husband, Paddy McDaid (Cooper) passed away in 1985.

Tina said before lockdown, Mary Bridget would have had lots of visitors. Monday was also her busy day when she phones everyone and receives lots of phone calls.

“Mammy was never isolated during lockdown,” said Tina. “And she was over the moon to be able to hand over her donation to John (McCarter), Phil (Ryan), Eunan (McConnell) and Paddy (Murphy) from Lough Swilly RNLI on Friday. She had a lovely time and appreciated the lovely tea they had for her. Many thanks to them,” said Tina.

Speaking to Inish Times on behalf of Lough Swilly RNLI, a very pleased John McCarter (Lifeboat Operations Manager), said: “We were delighted to meet Mary Bridget and her family and receive the wonderful gift from her 90th Birthday, which demonstrated the esteem in which she was held in her community and the generosity of that community towards Mary Bridget and to Lough Swilly RNLI.

“I would just like to take this opportunity to say a big ‘Thank You’ to all of those groups and individuals around the Inishowen community who regularly contribute and support Lough Swilly RNLI.

“I know this effort has been somewhat restricted during the Covid-19 lockdown and if anyone would feel like increasing Mary Bridget’s wonderful effort, please feel free to get in touch with Lough Swilly RNLI through our Facebook page and make your regular contributions,” said John McCarter.

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