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Saved by RNLI lifeguards: Vicky's story

'I can’t thank the RNLI enough for saving me. I’m in awe of their bravery – they are the reason I have my family today.'

Ten years ago, in the place they got engaged, Vicky Murphy and her husband Marc were taking a stroll around the headland at Chapel Porth Beach, St Agnes. This time around, the beach had a new reason to feel special – Vicky was 35 weeks pregnant.

As they reached a secluded cove, the tide appeared far out. But it wasn’t long before the water was waiting for them around both corners, completely cutting them off from the shore.

A portrait of rescuee Vicky in Chapel Porth, Cornwall

Photo: RNLI/Nathan Williams

‘At first it was only ankle deep,’ Vicky says. ‘But then it was at our knees. Then our shoulders – then our heads. I had no idea how we were going to get out. I asked Marc: “Be honest with me, we’re not going to make it are we?”

'I’ll never forget the look in his eyes when he replied: “No”.

'I couldn’t touch the floor. I was trying to fight the current, but it was dragging me out to sea. Marc grabbed a nearby boulder, digging his heels into the sand. He hooked his arm through my dungaree straps, clinging onto the rock with both hands to stop us from being washed away.'

Chapel Porth Beach in Cornwall

Photo: RNLI/Nathan Williams

Chapel Porth Beach, Cornwall

'I’ll always remember my body being battered around horizontally in the water, as I looked up at my husband with such desperation in his face – it was telling me: I can’t hold on.

'The waves were up to 6 feet tall and they were pushing us towards the cliff face. They suddenly pushed us against another boulder and, somehow, we managed to get onto it.

'We didn’t know what to do next. I kept thinking: “I can’t believe my parents are going to get this news.”

'Marc and I said our goodbyes to each other, and that we loved each other.'

'The relief of seeing that lifeboat coming around the corner still gets me emotional to this day.

'The lifesavers somehow got us down from the cliff face, into the boat and back to the beach. Both my arms were wrapped around them with my feet dragging behind me. I was exhausted, both me and Marc had absolutely no energy left in us.

'I was in hospital for 3 days after our rescue. I’d been battered by the sea and hadn’t felt my baby move. When the hospital told me there was still a heartbeat, they said: “You should count your lucky stars.” 

'I can’t thank the RNLI enough for saving me. I’m in awe of their bravery – they are the reason I have my family today. My daughter, Rae, is 10 years old now with two younger brothers and a healthy mum and dad. We wouldn’t be here without them.’

Vicky, Rae and Marc beside Chapel Porth Beach

Photo: RNLI/Nathan Williams

Vicky, Rae and Marc beside Chapel Porth Beach

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