DUNMORE East RNLI member Neville Murphy has been named RNLI Photographer of the Year after capturing the calm before the storm that faces rescuers on the seas.
Neville, who works with the Coastguard Rescue 117 Helicopter in Waterford and volunteers with the RNLI, fought off stiff competition from hundreds of entries to be short-listed to the final 12 before being selected the winner in a public vote on the charity’s Facebook page.
His photo, aptly titled ‘The Calm,’ shows the lifeboat crew kit hanging up in the changing room in the Dunmore East Station. Delighted Neville said, “I can’t believe it, I am not an experienced photographer as I only took it up earlier this year when I got a second hand camera so I am absolutely delighted.”
Neville said when he captured the image his thoughts were that it reflected a sense of calm before the often challenging and dangerous callouts, which bring RNLI volunteers to sea.
“When I took the picture in the crew changing room, there was peace and quiet and it got me thinking how all that can change within seconds when the pager goes off.”
Nathan Williams, RNLI Film and Image co-ordinator, judged the entries and said Neville was a deserving recipient of the award.
He said, “We often see striking images of our lifeboats at sea, reminding us of the challenging conditions our volunteers face when they respond. This photo reminds us of their selflessness in a different way: the calm before the next shout. It’s a reminder that each crew is made up of all sorts of people from all sorts of walks of life, who will rush to the station, pull on those jackets and answer the call.”
Neville, a native of Skibbereen in county Cork, has been on the all-weather lifeboat crew for 10 years since his job as a winch man with the Coastguard helicopter brought him to Waterford.
“I always wanted to be on the RNLI crew,” Neville said, “but didn’t live within a reasonable distance to volunteer until I moved to Waterford. As soon as I moved I took the opportunity to join the crew here at Dunmore East and I haven’t looked back since.” Neville will now be presented with a new Pentax Optio WG-2 camera and a framed and captioned print of the winning photo. He will also receive a certificate signed by RNLI Chief Executive Paul Boissier.