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Rugby player thanks off-duty lifeguards who treated him for head injury

Lifeguards News Release

Off-duty RNLI lifeguards have been praised by a rugby player after he was injured during a match.

Ben Donnithorne has praised lifeguards who helped him.

Ben Donnithorne was knocked unconscious after clashing heads with a team mate and suffered a seizure as a result.

The friends had been playing in a match at St Just Rugby Club on the evening of Wednesday 11 April when the incident happened.

Off-duty RNLI lifeguards at Perranporth Tom McRitchie, Jackson Edwards and George Hudson alongside Will McRitchie who volunteered with the charity last year as a lifeguard responded straight away following the accident.

Ben recalls: ‘All I remember is waking up on the floor surround by a few mates including Tom, Will, Jackson and George telling me to stay still and that the ambulance was on its way.

‘Obviously at the time I was very agitated and restless but all the boys were very reassuring to me which helped.’

‘Tom stayed on the floor and supported my head until I was in the ambulance.

Tom McRitchie says: ‘We were able to take control of the scene and do a primary survey and ongoing checks until paramedics arrived.’

George Hudson added: ‘We are all part of a team together at work and for rugby; the team dynamic doesn’t stop at the beach.

RNLI Lifeguards are qualified in lifesaving and casualty care to deal with first aid incidents at their beach and often put their skills to great use outside of work too.

Now back at home, Ben says: ‘I currently have a swollen eye, cheek and lip and also a broken nose. I’m doing fine, concussed, but all the scan results came back clear which I am relieved about.’

‘I’d like to thank the lifeguards who sprang into action instantly, controlled the situation throughout and helped reassure my wife when it was all going on. I’m really indebted to them.’

His wife Harriet witnessed the accident.

‘I want to say a massive thank you to Jackson, George, Tom and Will who helped Ben on Wednesday,’ she says.

‘It was terrifying to witness but the boys helped keep me calm and did an amazing job of supporting Ben. I will be eternally grateful they were there to put into practice the incredible training they have received from the RNLI.’

Jackson Edwards added: ‘It’s great to be able to use the skills we learn on the beach and put them into practice in the local community.

‘We are all glad Ben and Harriet are both okay and that we were able to be there on scene and put our skills to good use.

‘We also want to thank all the other people who were there to help out, a first responder, a coastguard and other players.’

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Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 150 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 139,000 lives.

A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SCO37736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland


Ben Donnithorne has praised lifeguards who helped him.

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 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