CRS chief hails vital fundraising from the annual Red Sails Festival

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THE Regional Commander of the Community Rescue Service has hailed the Portstewart Community Association for its support through the annual Red Sails Festival in Portstewart.

For the past four years the charity collection taken up on the final evening of the Festival and the fireworks display provides much needed funding for the CRS.

The Coleraine Unit of the CRS provides, amongst other things, water rescue on the lower River Bann and responds with their rescue boats and crews to over 100 emergency calls in the Coleraine area every year.

The CRS also provides the lowland, rural and urban search and rescue response on behalf of the police for all of Northern Ireland for missing people.

Sean McCarry, Regional Commander of the Community Rescue Service said: “We are deeply indebted to the Red Sails Festival and its organisers Portstewart Community Association for allowing us to raise funds at their Festival every year.

“There is no doubt that without this partnership and support many lives would have been lost as it would be impossible for us to continue to provide the level of 24 hour cover that we do in the Coleraine area.

“ The funds raised go to help keep the boats and vehicles operating, to providing rescue equipment for our volunteers and every penny donated is spent doing this vital work as we are staffed entirely by volunteers.

“The Community Rescue Service cannot thank the Red Sails Festival organisers and the many businesses and members of the public who support them enough, your contribution and support is both life changing and life saving.

“So this year when you are enjoying the fantastic free entertainment at the Red Sails Festival you will also have the chance to contribute to the essential life saving work of the Community Rescue Service.”

Sean Graham, chairman of the Portstewart Community Association (PCA) said: “The PCA. is delighted that a vital service like The Community Rescue Service is able to independently benefit from our community festival.

“This not only demonstrates a further major contribution that the festival provides to the local community but also demonstrates a lesser known benefit that visitors contribute to the area.

“In addition to helping businesses sustain employment in the area, they also provide additional support in terms of donations to the festival, allowing us to support many local artists, as well as other quality acts from further afield. The P.C.A also acknowledges the tremendous local community support that it receives.”

Plans for the Portstewart Community Red Sails Festival - this year to be held from July 22-28 - are well underway.

One of the acts already confirmed is The iFoundation, a west of Scotland reggae band, nominated in the best band category of this year’s British Reggae Music Awards.

Also booked is Fil Campbell, performer and presenter of the RTE series “Songbirds” (a celebration of songs by, Bridie Gallagher, Delia Murphy, Margaret Barry, Mary O’Hara and Ruby Murray).

Following their standing ovation last year the Thin Lizzy Tribute band, Black Rose, have been invited back and also confirmed is Red Sails ever popular artist Willie Drennan.

A Wrestling Show will take place between 12 noon and 4.30pm on the Friday of the festival week. Local acts booked so far include The Groove Robbers, Happy Shrapnel, Dark Horse, Whiskey In The Jar, Rio Salsa and The Banshee Irish Dancers.

For the closing night the Community Association is hoping to put on a History of Rock’n’Roll show, consisting of a thirteen piece band which includes some of the finest musicians in the area.

Other Festival attractions will include golf, sandcastle, pavement art, junior fishing, Battle of the Bands and fancy dress competitions.

A Red Sails Has Talent competition will replace the karaoke contest and is open to those wishing to perform a dance routine or sing. Also available will be a Printmaking Workshop and an African Drum Workshop and a mini Health Roadshow.

The Portstewart Community Red Sails festival is a non-profit event organised by the Portstewart Community Association with support from the Coleraine Borough Council and is run by volunteers.

Any local business wishing to sponsor the festival can contribute to one of the Festival King/Queen collection boxes that are in a number of retail outlets in Portstewart.

For further information on the Festival contact Sean or Tony at redsailsfestival@yahoo.co.uk

Meals on Wheels

Table Quiz invite

PORTSTEWART Community Association will hold a table quiz in aid of Portstewart’s Meals on Wheels service on Friday, March 16 in the Port Hotel, Portrush at 8.30pm.

There will also be a raffle on the night with some fantastic prizes. Everyone welcome.