Story of lifeboat immortalised in song to fund restoration drive

She has been immortalised in folklore, story and paintings. Now the legend of the famous lifeboat Mary Stanford has been recorded in song to help fund her ambitious restoration.

East Cork musician John Joyce, of Finnegans Gaels, had penned Mary… this, The Mary Stanford Song, which features on a 12-track CD of traditional Irish songs which has been launched by the Save the Mary Stanford Committee in Ballycotton, Co Cork.

Proceeds from the sale of the €10 CD will go directly towards the lifeboat restoration project.

The Mary Stanford was the Ballycotton lifeboat from 1930 to 1959. She and her crew were called out on 41 ‘shouts’, saving 122 lives during her service.

But she is most famous for her remarkable role in the daring Daunt Lightship rescue on February 11, 1936.

It resulted in her being awarded a royal gold medal for gallantry — the only lifeboat to ever receive a medal for bravery.

Despite her illustrious past, she had been languishing in a backwater of Dublin’s Grand Canal Dock until the people of Ballycotton united to save her.

In October 2013, the ‘Save The Mary Stanford’ committee was formed, and thanks to dozens of local fundraisers, they brought the vessel home to Ballycotton last April.

The vessel has been positioned on a concrete plinth near the entrance to the village’s famous cliff walk — facing the direction of the Daunt Lightship rescue.

Her hull has been painted and restoration work has begun on her deck.

Stephen Belton, chairman of the restoration committee, said he hopes phase two of the work will be done by next month.

It is hoped that landscaping and the installation of information signs will be done by early Spring 2015.

Fundraising efforts are continuing and the CD is available in local shops, or contact Val Archer on (087) 239 0249.

You can donate to the restoration project at www.themarystanford.com.


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