Rescue boat to be named in man’s honour

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

ONE FAMILY’S tragedy is going to help families in Limerick and Clare avoid losing loved ones.

ONE FAMILY’S tragedy is going to help families in Limerick and Clare avoid losing loved ones.

Bryan Priestley, originally from Surrey, passed away in July 2009 from a brain haemorrhage. He and his wife, Maureen (nee Clancy) from Athlunkard Street in the city returned to Killaloe to retire 15 years ago.

Maureen said Bryan fell ill on a family day out to Kilkee in July 2009.

“The search and rescue people in Kilkee were having a fundraiser that day and within minutes people in wetsuits with defibrillators were there. Unfortunately because it was the brain there was nothing they could do but if it had been a heart attack they were so fast that he would have been with us today,” said Mrs Priestley.

It was suggested to the Limerick City woman that because the search and rescue were there on the day they should support their local volunteer service - Killaloe and Ballina Search and Recovery (KBSR) - who receive no state funding.

“We asked for donations instead of flowers in Ireland and in England to go to the KBSR,” said Mrs Priestley.

Over a €1,000 was received and the boat bought by the KBSR was blessed and named in Ballina on Sunday. It is called Priestley.

Mrs Priestley, her daughter Susan and her 10 year-old granddaughter Tara did the honours in front of over a 100 people including family members of Mr Priestley’s, who travelled over from England.

The 67 year-old was a very popular man on both sides of the Irish Sea. In Limerick he was secretary of the Curragower Boat Club and was tower captain of the bell ringers in St Mary’s Cathedral.

Amazingly a great, great, great, great, great grandfather of Mr Priestley travelled over from England to cast the bell. He actually died in the cathedral in a freak accident and is buried there.

His ancestor, Mr Priestley, became the first man to be interred in the cathedral because there was no place for ashes before.

He loved the water and he and his wife had a boat on the lake.

Honorary secretary of KBSR, Patrick Sullivan, said the kind donation means that they can now help people in trouble away from Lough Derg.

“We have a 21 foot boat on Lough Derg. If we had to remove that from Lough Derg to go somewhere else we would need a crane. The boat which we procured is a small 3 metre rib and a trailer. This allows us to cover local lakes and rivers and assist in rescue and recovery operations,” said Mr Sullivan, who on behalf of the KBSR thanked the Priestley family and everyone who made donations.