• Skip to content
  • Cookies
  • College
  • Shop
  • Safety
  • Education
  • News Centre
  • Recruitment
  • Contact us
Content anchor

Print this page PDF this page

Ferret Rescuers Receive Award

About the author

Image of Richard Martin

Richard Martin
Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer & Station Mechanic at Newbiggin Lifeboat Station.

Lifeboats News Release

  • Date:
  • Author: Richard Martin

A UK based animal charity has bestowed upon Newbiggin lifeboat station their 'Hero to Animals Award'

The animal charity 'People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA) had read about the Newbiggin RNLI volunteers rescuing two ferrets from the rising tide following media coverage across the country.

 The ferrets 'Tootsie' and 'Lucky' had become trapped by the rising tide one summer evening and their anxious owners made desperate attempts to extract the pair from a watery grave. Unable to do anything else the animals’ owners made a frantic call to Humber coastguard who in turn alerted the Newbiggin lifeboat volunteers to divert from their evening training exercise. Minutes later the lifeboat was on scene and volunteer crew Mark Callan and Peter Leslie waded ashore to assess the predicament of the animals. It fell to Mark Callan to reach into the rocky void and feel around for the ferrets fully aware this unknown human hand may not be welcomed by the animals. However the two ferrets immediately concurred with the offer of help and they duly were returned to dry land into the care of their relieved owners.

 PETA’s Associate Director, Mimi Bekhechi said 'By remaining calm and determined throughout, the lifeboat crew saved the lives of two terrified animals who may have been within minutes of drowning. Newbiggin and the surrounding communities are fortunate to have public servants who are willing to put their own safety on the line to protect residents and their beloved animal companions.'

Richard Martin at Newbiggin LIfeboat commented ‘The RNLI exists to save lives at sea and, while we primarily rescue people, none of us like to see animals in distress. We will always help when we can but particularly if there is a risk that members of the public may try to rescue an animal themselves, potentially getting into difficulties in the process. We were delighted to be able to reunite 'Tootsie' and 'Lucky' with their owners, and are honoured to have been recognised by PETA for our actions.’


RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone Richard Martin, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07980 010544 or martin.richard2@sky.com or Alison Levett RNLI Media Relations Manager North on 07786 668912 or alison_levett@rnli.org.uk or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789

If you would like to find out more about Newbiggin lifeboat station, its volunteers and its heritage then take a look at the official website www.newbigginbythesea.co.uk/lifeboat/ or follow the link on the station page.


Photos and video

Back to News Centre

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 237 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland