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Casualty praises RNLI lifeguard who saved his life

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards at St Agnes sprang into action on Saturday morning (9 July) after a 999 call alerted them to a man who was in danger of drowning in the sea at Trewellas.

​The casualty, Aaron Hill, 24, had gone for a swim with friends when he found himself in difficulty.

Aaron said: ‘Myself and a couple of friends had climbed down the cliff and into the water, wanting to find a spot where we could jump into the sea from a height just as a bit of fun. We swam between the water’s edge and a rock, but it later became apparent that we had underestimated the severity of the water, and hadn’t realised how dangerous it would be to swim where we were.’

Aaron found that he couldn’t get out of the rough sea, and was struggling to keep his head above the water. RNLI lifeguard Tom Stewart-Leech grabbed the rescue board and quickly paddled across the bay to reach the casualty. Aaron had suffered from multiple cuts to his legs. As well as feeling dizzy, he was sick after swallowing a lot of water, and was in a state of distress.

Aaron continued: ‘It wasn’t until Tom came to my aid that I felt at ease, relieved that there was help available when I needed it the most. Tom was incredibly professional, helpful and positive about the situation, helping to put my worries at ease and he got me back to land safely and as quickly as possible. I couldn’t be more grateful.’

After getting the casualty back to the beach Tom advised Aaron to seek further medical assistance.

Tom Stewart-Leech, RNLI lifeguard, said: ‘Many people underestimate the sea and how quickly you can get into difficulty. Aaron was lucky that he was with other people who were able to raise the alarm and get him to safety. By the time I reached him, he was struggling to keep his head above the waves.

‘We want people to enjoy the coast but remember to respect the water, as it can be dangerously unpredictable. We would advise people to speak to the lifeguards if you are unsure about the tide times and conditions and always swim at a lifeguarded beach.’

Later that same day, Aaron returned to the beach at St Agnes and signed up with the fundraisers to donate to the RNLI as ‘a symbol of his gratitude and debt.’

Aaron added: ‘I never thought I’d find myself in a situation such as this. I would consider myself relatively fit, physically active and confident in the water - but until something goes wrong you don’t know how you will react in a dangerous situation. Fortunately there was help when I needed it the most, and I can’t begin to image how many others like myself, and even those more vulnerable than me, are helped and saved by individuals such as Tom, and all the other brave volunteers and members of the RNLI.’

The RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign is running throughout the summer. To find out more about the dangers of the coast and how to stay safe, visit or search #RespectTheWater on social media.

Notes to editors
Picture attached of lifeguard Tom Stewart-Leech, who performed the rescue credit/RNLI

Media Contacts
For further information, please contact either Aysha Bryant, RNLI Communications Student Placement, on 01752 854479 or  or Chloe Smith, RNLI Press Officer, on 07920 818807 or email    

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 Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 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.

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