The RNLI has launched a fundraising campaign that will see an all-weather lifeboat permanently based at Clifden in Connemara.

The 'Launch a Memory' lifeboat will carry the names of up to 10,000 people, placed on it by their loved ones.

Members of the public and supporters of the charity can make a donation online and submit the name of the person to be commemorated.

The first name on the new lifeboat will go to 26-year-old Lee Early from Donegal. The RNLI volunteer lost his life tragically last year when he was involved in an accident on Arranmore Island. Lee was the Deputy Coxswain at Arranmore RNLI and a skipper of the local ferry. 

His name will be displayed on the vessel's hull along with all those being commemorated.

Lee Early (L) died in an accident last year

The lettering will be 3-4mm in height and contained within the RNLI letters.

Lee’s father Jimmy Early is Arranmore RNLI lifeboat Coxswain. He spoke of his pride at hearing his son’s name would be on the Clifden lifeboat.

"We live on an island off a larger island and so the sea is in our blood. I am very proud to be a lifeboat coxswain and I was so proud of Lee when he followed in my footsteps.

"He is with us always. Every time we launch the life boat we think of him and this is a very meaningful way to commemorate him.

"I know his name will be joined by thousands of others whose loved ones want them remembered in such a special way. That lifeboat will launch many times in its lifetime and bring many people to safety."

Daniel Curran, RNLI Engagement Lead, said everyone who supports the campaign will receive email updates about the lifeboat.

"We will then inform them of all developments on its journey to going on service and saving lives at sea in Clifden."

The first 'Launch a Memory' lifeboat is nearing completion in Scotland and work will begin shortly on the building of the Clifden vessel at Poole Lifeboat Station in the UK