US couple make enormous donation to a Co Down lifeboat outfit

Bangor and Donaghadee RNLI crews
Bangor and Donaghadee RNLI crews
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An American couple with ties to Northern Ireland have made a donation of $74,000 to Donaghadee and Bangor RNLI.

The donation came from the late John Bradley and his wife Sally Sue, who he met as a pen pal when John lived in the Province as a dairy farmer.

John, who passed away in July 1 aged 81, was originally from north London but moved to Co Tyrone where he rebuilt his family home which dated back to the late 1800s.

The Bradleys met as pen pals over a shared interest in genealogy, got married and moved to LaGrange, Georgia.

John and Sally Sue admired the work of the RNLI and loved the story about Grace Darling in Bamburgh, the young girl who risked her life to rescue others from certain death in a terrible storm in 1838.

Speaking about the RNLI prior to his death, John said: “In America we have the Coast Guard which rescue people and ships who get into trouble on the high seas.

“The US Coast Guard is fully paid for by the government, but the RNLI needs donations. We are pleased to give enough money so that equipment can be purchased.”

Peter Irwin, Donaghadee RNLI lifeboat operations manager said the station was overwhelmed by the Bradley’s generosity: “What a lovely story this is, albeit a poignant one now at John’s recent death.

“To think a couple who met as pen pals, married here but then moved to America but continued to share a passion for the RNLI and the charity’s work, would think of us in this way and so generously, is incredible.”

The Bradley’s donation to be used for vital volunteer crew kit and training.