‘I’m only here this Christmas thanks to the lifeboat crew’

In the run up to the festive season, volunteer lifeboat crews are busy preparing for rescues they hope won’t happen. For one crew member and his family, Christmas Day 2020 is a date they’ll never forget.

Aith Crew Member Steven Wilson

Photo: RNLI/John Robertson

Aith Crew Member Steven Wilson, who came to his brother’s rescue on Christmas Day

The Wilson family had just finished eating when Crew Member Steven received a terrifying call. His brother John-Arthur, an experienced fisherman, had suffered engine failure while travelling to the nearby harbour at Clousta to sell crab and lobster the next day.

Stranded in deep water, the small creel boat was drifting in gale-force winds and huge seas, dangerously close to rocky cliffs. John-Arthur dropped the anchor, but by the time it touched the seabed the boat was just metres from the rocks. He called Steven, and then the Coastguard, who immediately requested the launch of Aith’s Severn class all-weather lifeboat. 

‘I knew my brother was in big trouble – that if the anchor on his boat slipped, he would be gone,’ says Steven. The lifeboat crew tried desperately to set up a tow rope but they were hampered by high winds and pitching seas. After several attempts, a line was finally attached and the lifeboat was able to begin the journey back to Aith.

John-Arthur holds up a lobster on his new boat

Photo: RNLI

John-Arthur on his new boat

Thanks to the quick action of Steven and the crew, John-Arthur was reunited with his brother and the two of them were able to finish Christmas Day with their loved ones.

‘I’m only here this Christmas thanks to the lifeboat crew,’ says John-Arthur. ‘It was a huge comfort to know that they were coming to help me. They’re worth their weight in gold. I’d encourage anyone to give what they can this Christmas, so that crews like my brother’s can be here to help other people.’

Can you support RNLI lifeboat volunteers this Christmas and help them to save every one?