Ilfracombe RNLI called out to shout during crew member wedding
The Ilfracombe RNLI volunteer crew pagers went off at 14.10 on 30 November during the wedding service of crew member Neil Daubney to his partner Izzy.
There was silence at Emmanuel Church, Ilfracombe during the prayers at the wedding service when the pagers went off and duty Coxswain Leigh Hanks and two other crew members dashed from the Church.
A concerned member of the public had made a 999 call to the Coastguard after spotting a paddleboarder thought to be in difficulties in rough sea conditions near Watermouth Cove. The volunteer crew were paged and immediately left the wedding ceremony to respond.
The Ilfracombe RNLI inshore lifeboat (ILB) the Deborah Brown II quickly headed out to sea and the all-weather lifeboat The Barry and Peggy High Foundation was also requested to launch but was held at the bottom of the slipway when the crew of the ILB reported the paddleboarder had just rounded the headland at Hillsborough and was safe and well. The ILB stood by until the paddleboarder was safely in the outer harbour and then returned to the station where both lifeboats were recovered ready for the next service.
Coxswain Leigh Hanks says: ‘it was totally silent in the Church when the pagers went off. Initially people thought that we had set this up as a joke on Neil, but we responded immediately just like on any other shout. Neil wasn’t on duty - although we did offer him the chance to come with us! Myself and the other crew members were to have been part of the honour guard when the couple left the Church. Unfortunately we could not be there but the others carried on without us. We wish Neil and Izzy all the very best for their future together.’
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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. 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 142,700 lives.