The renowned composer and singer relives the pain of losing his sibling on the RNLI 200 Voices podcast series.
He also tells how the tragedy led him to writing one of his most touching songs, Home from the Sea.
Coulter says he is now “possibly the biggest fan of the RNLI”.
His first connection with the rescue charity came about following his brother’s death.
“Brian drowned while windsurfing in Lough Swilly in Co Donegal. That was in the year of 1984; it was in the winter, so there were no pleasure craft in the area, no boats in the water.
“As often happens in that stretch of water, winds changed, and, to cut a long story short, he was blown out of the bay and was drowned.
“Now, the bay is not a huge area of water. It’s a very, very treacherous stretch of water but the bottom line is, had there had been a lifeboat in place my brother would still be alive today.”
Alongside some of Brian’s friends and his own, they started to lobby the RNLI to get a boat stationed at Lough Swilly.
Coulter performed concerts to raise a start-up fund and awareness, and it was a “very proud day for them all” when, in 1987, the first inshore boat was launched there.
That day solidified Coulter’s “connection with and respect for the RNLI”.
The crowd, led by a multi-denominational team of priests and vicars, sang For those in Peril on the Sea.
Reflecting, the Derryman said: “To this day, when I hear it I get goosebumps.”
Lifeboat volunteers are “selfless people” and “unsung heroes”, he added.
A few years later Coulter wanted to create a greater awareness of the RNLI and he composed Home from the Sea.
In the podcast, he tells of how he recorded it with the late Liam Clancy as lead vocalist with a chorus of RNLI volunteer crew from around the island.
The song has since been adapted as an RNLI anthem.
The unique podcast series will hear from people connected to the RNLI in Ireland and those whose lives have been touched by the lifesaving charity.
Hear from locals with a special kinship to their lifeboat station, a crew member who’s been on service for a generation, or the family of someone rescued by an RNLI frontline lifesaver – each episode is sure to take the listener on a journey through a touching story.
Launched in August the series already features several contributions of Irish interest including:
Niamh Fitzpatrick Remembers One of Our Own, a personal reflection on how after losing her sister Dara at sea, Niamh talks about how much the RNLI means to her.
Fr. Tom Dalton, a Courtown RNLI crew member where the Co. Wexford priest describes what is like when rescue turns into recovery in Pulling Together.
In The Calm Before Force 10. Baltimore RNLI’s Kieran Cotter remembers an event that was to change yacht racing forever, the 1979 Fastnet tragedy, the fateful call out and the response to the disaster.
The challenge of saving lives in a remote place is the theme of Outer Limits by Aran Islands doctor Marion Broderick.Tags: