Lifeboat crews given $74,000 donation from US couple

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Bangor and Donaghadee RNLI have paid tribute to an American couple who offered up a $74,000 dollar donation.

The late John Bradley who grew up and worked in County Tyrone, and his wife Sally Sue who he met as a pen pal, donated $37,000 each to Bangor and Donaghadee lifeboat stations.

Tower Lifeboat Station, based next to Waterloo bridge in East London received $5,000.

Sadly, John Bradley passed away on 1 July aged 81 just as the local crews were preparing to send him photographs thanking him for his generosity. 

IMAGE: Lifeboat crews take a picture to thank the Bradley's for their donation.

The RNLI say the Bradley’s donation will be used for vital volunteer crew kit and training.

 John who was originally from Finchley, North London, moved to his family farm in Northern Ireland where he worked as a dairy farmer and rebuilt his family home which had been in his family since the late 1800s.

He later worked in Dungannon. The Bradleys, who met one another as pen pals over a shared interest in genealogy, got married and then lived in LaGrange, Georgia in the USA.

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 U.S. 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.’

IMAGE: The late John Bradley

 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."

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