Twins return to scene of rescue to back Perfect Storm campaign

Lifeboats News Release

Twin girls who were saved from drowning off the north Norfolk coast six years ago are returning to the scene of their rescue to back an RNLI fundraising campaign.

Molly and Daisy Cole and their elder sister Zoe were exploring the wreck of the SS Vena off Scolt Head Island in the summer of 2013 when they became cut off from the shore by the incoming tide.

As they clung to a marker buoy, Hunstanton RNLI’s hovercraft arrived on the scene just as Molly and Zoe were swept away by the fast moving current. In a dramatic rescue, all three were pulled from the water by the hovercraft’s four-strong crew.

Six years on, the twins are now 18. Molly is studying History at City, University of London, while Daisy is a teaching assistant at a primary school in west Norfolk. On Friday 20 December, Molly and Daisy are returning to Hunstanton Lifeboat Station to be reunited with some of the crew from that fateful day, and to lend their support for the RNLI’s new fundraising campaign, The Perfect Storm.

Molly said: ‘I do think back to that day – probably more at times like birthdays and Christmas. Something like that really makes you value your life. We were lucky the RNLI got there in time. I’m really looking forward to meeting them again and having a chance to say thank you properly.’

Daisy added: ‘We’re so happy to be invited back to the station and to meet the crew again. And we’re realy pleased to help support the Perfect Storm fundraising campaign. The lifeboat stations are so important and it’s amazing that the crew are all volunteers.’

The RNLI’s Perfect Storm appeal has been launched in response to some major challenges the charity is facing. In 2018, the RNLI’s financial resources dropped by £28.6M, while its crews are busier than ever.

Last year, RNLI volunteers along the east coast of England experienced their joint busiest festive period* since records began. There were 19 lifeboat launches along the east coast** from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day, compared with just two launches 40 years ago.

Mike Darby was part of the Hunstanton RNLI hovercraft crew which rescued the girls. He jumped into the water and swam over to Daisy while the hovercraft went to Molly and Zoe, inflating his life jacket to keep her afloat. Mike said: ‘We’re all so pleased the girls are coming back. The rescue happened so quickly, it was only later we had time to think what we’d done. It’ll be great to see them and find out what they’re doing now.

‘It’s great that they want to support Perfect Storm too. We couldn’t do what we do without the support of the public. The RNLI has experienced a shortfall in funds, but we are rescuing more people than ever before. So we’re calling on people to make a donation this Christmas to ensure we can continue to save lives at sea.’

To support the RNLI’s Perfect Storm appeal this Christmas, helping to ensure the charity’s brave volunteers can continue saving lives at sea, please visit RNLI.org/ThePerfectStorm.

Notes to editors

*Festive periods calculated from 24 Dec – 1 Jan

**Regional statistics cover the east coast from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Burnham-on-Crouch.

The causes of callouts over the festive period have changed over the years. National figures show in the early 80s the most common reason for callouts was to commercial fishing vessels and powered craft. Since 2000, many of those needing help are often just visiting the coast and not out on vessels or watercraft. As well as slips, trips and falls, tidal cut offs are also a contributing factor to RNLI call outs.

RNLI media contacts

For more information, please contact Jim Rice, RNLI Regional Media Manager, North East & East on 07811 658072 or at jim_rice@rnli.org.uk , or Clare Hopps, RNLI Regional Media Officer, North East & East on 07824 518641 or at clare_hopps@rnli.org.uk. Alternatively, call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email pressoffice@rnli.org.uk.


RNLI/Jim Rice

Daisy (left) and Molly with RNLI volunteer Mike Darby

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 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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For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.

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