Rescuee raises lifesaving amount for Swanage Lifeboat Station

Lifeboats News Release

In 2019 Sophie Dunford was one of a group of Coaststeerers who were recovered from the sea when a member of their group was taken ill and they were unable to swim ashore.

Sophie Dunford,Andy Clark, Jan Dunford, Nigel Dunford, Tammy Dunford and Oscar(the dog) present cheque to Swanage Lifeboat Crew on the slipway at Swanage Lifeboat Station

RNLI/Roydon Woodford

Sophie Dunford, Andy Clark, Jan Dunford, Nigel Dunford, Tammy Dunford and Oscar(the dog) present cheque to Swanage Lifeboat Crew.

The group was being quickly swept away, but they had heeded their briefing advice to link arms and float together if the group became separated or was unable to make it to shore.

As the group had stayed together it was easier for the all-weather lifeboat, The George Thomas Lacy, to locate the casualties and go straight to their position to recover them from the water. All members of the group, which included adults and children, were recovered to the Swanage lifeboat.

Swanage Lifeboat Coxswain, Dave Turnbull, said ‘We knew that one member of the group had been taken ill and was ashore, but the remainder of the group were still in the water. Our inshore lifeboat took crew ashore to help with the ill casualty and we immediately commenced a search to find the missing group. As the coasteerers had formed a ring by linking arms they were easy to spot, having drifted to the west, and we went straight to them’.

Sophie’s rescue was classified as a life saved, because without the assistance of the lifeboat she, and the others in her group, may not have survived.

Understandably this incident made a lasting impression on Sophie and her family so they decided she wanted to do something to raise money for the Swanage RNLI. Sophie, her family and friends, held a fundraising event at her home and raised over £2100 for Swanage RNLI which she presented to volunteer crew and fundraisers at the station. This generous donation will help to fund the vital costs to keep Swanage Lifeboat Station running.

Volunteer lifeboat crew member, Andy Redout, said ‘it was amazing to hear Sophie talk about the rescue from her perspective and understand how relieved she was to see the lifeboat arrive. Sophie said to us that members of the coasteering group had kept in touch since the incident despite having never met before, which made us realise what an impact a rescue can have on people’s lives. We had no idea Sophie had raised so much money from her fundraising event, so it was great to meet her and be able to say thank you.’

Notes to Editors 

Photos show a cheque being presented to Swanage RNLI and images from the fundraising event.

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RNLI/Michael Carey

Fundraisers Tammy Dunford, Katie Dunford, Sophie Durnford (rescuee), Andy Clark, Jan Dunford, Fran Hudson at their fundraising event

RNLI/Tammy Dunford

Kitchen converted to fundraising zone!

RNLI/Tammy Dunford

Goodies for sale!

RNLI/Tammy Dunford

Goodies for sale!

RNLI/Tammy Dunford

Battleships and Lucky Dip!

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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.

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