A very special visit to the coast took place at the weekend - as one family paid tribute to the late Tandragee nurse, Nora Minnis.
Nora passed away in May last year but, throughout her life, she had tirelessly raised funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). Although she is dearly missed by her family, they are determined to continue Nora’s life work - a responsibility which has swiftly been taken on by her nephew, Graeme Harrison, and granddaughter, Alice Patterson.
“Graeme and I decided to run the Barcelona marathon in May to raise money for the RNLI,” explained Alice.
“It’s a charity that’s close to both of our hearts, as Nora supported it without fail throughout her life.”
Alice and Graeme managed to raise almost £2,500 for the RNLI, a great reward after months of training.
The pair are no strangers to running, and are used to going the extra mile to make time in their busy schedules for training. This year’s marathon in Barcelona was Alice’s third - she previously ran the Loch Ness and Belfast marathons - and economist Graeme’s eleventh.
“Graeme and I do a lot of running,” said Richhill native, Alice, who now works as a dentist in Scotland.
“We run three or four times each week, and have been running for years. We did some training together ahead of Barcelona, and both ran the Belfast marathon last year.”
After their energetic efforts in raising funds for the RNLI, Alice and Graeme were invited down to the RNLI Lifeboat Station in Donaghadee.
They travelled down with several other members of Nora’s family - including her daughter Ruth, son Peter, and sister Dorothy - and were welcomed by the lifesaving crew.
“It was very special to be able to hand the money over to RNLI after all our hard work,” Alice shared.
“Alan showed us around the RNLI station and invited us on to one of the lifeboats, explaining the important work our donation would go towards. Alan Couser, the Lifeboat Operations Manager in Donaghadee, explained that their lifeboat cost almost £2million, but can save up to 150 people at one time. Meeting him and some other volunteers made the trip so worthwhile - the work they do is so important and all of the members are volunteers.”
The RNLI relies completely on donations for their lifesaving work, and their crews rescue an average of twenty-three people a day.
Whilst their visit to Donaghadee brought their recent fundraising to a close, Alice and Graeme want to continue to support the charity that Nora cherished.
“We are so keen to support the RNLI through our future fundraising, and plan to run another marathon together soon!” said Alice.
“Alan was so kind to show us around the lifeboat and the station; it was a day out that Granny Nora would have thoroughly enjoyed.”