‘I must admit I was pretty scared’ – Lucien’s Christmas video thanks RNLI crew

Lifeboats News Release

A woman who was rescued by RNLI West Mersea after she became trapped in mud on Bradwell beach has sent a video message to thank the crew who saved her life and to lend her support to the RNLI’s Christmas appeal.

Lucien Cruse was walking her dogs with her mother and brother Tyler in late October when they became stuck in the mud. Lucien was stuck fast, but her mother and brother managed to get free and, realising the seriousness of the situation, 15-year-old Tyler raised the alarm. RNLI West Mersea’s inshore lifeboat was on the scene within ten minutes and pulled Lucien free with the incoming tide already up to her waist.

Covid-19 restrictions have prevented Lucien from returning to the station to say thank you in person, so instead she and Tyler recorded a Christmas message for the crew.

In the message, Lucien says: ‘I became stuck in the mud while walking along the low tide. I must admit I was pretty scared – the tide came up all the way to my waist. It took the lifeboat only about ten minutes to reach us from West Mersea. They got me out within three of four seconds, it was amazing. I’m so grateful to the crew for saving my life. Thank you for saving lives every day, and we hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

Stephan Jay was part of the inshore lifeboat crew that day: ‘We have a lot of mudflats along the Blackwater Estuary and knowing that the tide was coming in, we knew that every second counted. We were able to launch Just George and arrive on scene quickly thanks to our training. We were able to dig Lucien out within a minute before handing her over into the care of the emergency services waiting on shore. Tyler having the means to dial 999 so quickly, undoubtedly saved Lucian’s life that day.’

‘Usually at Christmas the crew will get together and talk about rescues we’ve performed during the year. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to be reunited with someone we’ve helped. Obviously that can’t happen this year, so we were all so pleased to receive the video message from Lucien and Tyler.’

The RNLI is launching its Christmas appeal after losing millions in income as fundraising activities had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. In 2020, the RNLI purchased 6.7 million units of coronavirus PPE including almost 700,000 face masks, 2.4 million gloves and just under 5,000 litres of hand sanitiser, at a cost of £1.2m.

This was money the charity hadn’t planned to spend, at a time when RNLI shops were forced to close and fundraising events were cancelled. West Mersea RNLI had to cancel its popular Boxing Day Dip this year due to coronavirus restrictions. Last year, the event had 147 participants and raised over £4000 in donations from sponsorship and the hundreds of spectators.

RNLI lifesavers have continued to work tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep people safe as lockdown restrictions eased and people flocked to the coast. Over the summer, there was a 64% increase in the number of recreational water users aided by RNLI lifeboats. The charity’s lifeguards also reported an increase in the number of visitors to beaches.

As a charity, the RNLI relies on the support of the public to continue saving lives – and that support is needed now more than ever. Help us brave a wave we never expected. To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal visit: rnli.org/support-us/

RNLI media contacts and interview requests

For more information or to request an interview with Lucien or the crew, please contact Jim Rice, RNLI Regional Media Manager, on 07810 658072 or at jim_rice@rnli.org.uk. Alternatively, call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email pressoffice@rnli.org.uk

Lucien Cruse

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 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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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.