The charity that saves lives at sea is planning a major event in the city of Derry on Sunday 9 May 2010.
The RNLI want to smash the current world record for the number of Irish dancers dancing in a line for five continuous minutes. The event is being planned to raise funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and to raise awareness of the life-saving work of the volunteer lifeboat crews in Ireland.
The current record stands at 317 dancers, and was set in Rocklands, New York in 2007 and the RNLI is hoping to have double that number of dancers on the day. Interest in the event has been huge and Derry City Council will be providing valuable support in staging the unique performance in the city.
MC on the day will be TV presenter Julian Simmons, who will keep the dancers motivated during the attempt and the crowds entertained. Dancers will be travelling to the city from counties Mayo, Donegal, Cavan, Kildare, Dublin, Down, Antrim and Derry.
All the major Irish dancing schools were contacted by the charity to see if they were interested and the response was phenomenal.
The idea for the record attempt came from RNLI Area Fundraising Manager Tony Hiney after Riverdance selected the RNLI as their chosen charity last year on their Irish tour. “ Seeing that famous line of dancers performing together and the effect it had on the audience gave me the idea of trying to break the record while at the same time trying to raise funds and awareness for the work of the RNLI. It started as a tiny idea but when I made contact with some Irish dancing teachers around the country I realised it had the potential to be huge. Now the event is around the corner and the excitement is growing. I would love the public to join with us on the day and see if the dancers can break the record. The RNLI is a charity that operates in Ireland and the UK and this event reflects that. It has taken a lot of planning to bring it to a reality but the response has been wonderful.”
Each dancer taking part in the record breaking attempt has agreed to raise a minimum of £20/€20 to secure their place in the line. Every penny and cent raised will go to saving lives at sea.
The Mayor of the city Cllr Paul Fleming has given his seal of approval to the attempt and hopes it will help the city in its bid for UK City of Culture in 2013. “Derry City Council are delighted to be involved in this excellent event and we are confident we will break the record as well as help raise the profile of the excellent work carried out by the lifeboats. I would encourage as many people as possible to come along on the day and support the dancers and help put the city in the record books,” he commented.
The dancers will be taking their place from 11am on Saturday 9 May along the Foyle river starting from outside the Derry City Council offices and stretching along the bank of the river and the official attempt will begin at noon. Any dancer who does not continuously dance the agreed steps for five minutes will be asked to step back to let the record attempt continue. The remaining dancers will be officially recorded and the RNLI are hopeful that the record of 317 dancers will be beaten.
Portrush RNLI lifeboat crew will bring their lifeboat to the city for the event. They along with Foyle Search and Rescue will be on the river for the duration of the attempt.