Lifeboat Crew Diverted from Ashes Ceremony

Lifeboats News Release

It was a busy day at the RNLI Lifeboat Station on Sunday (1st March).

Launching My Lady Anne

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

Launching My Lady Anne

Sometimes our volunteer crew are asked to do the honour of spreading the ashes of a families loved one for them out in the Estuary. This morning was one of those days, but it didn’t quite go according to plan.

A crew member had sadly lost his father-in-law a few months before and the request of his wife's family was that he would like to be laid to rest on the water in the Bristol Channel by their much loved home.

As Helm Neil climbed aboard My Lady Anne that morning, he took along Pete’s ashes as requested by his family. The 4 crew members on board the lifeboat left the launch ramp in a sombre mood and made way to take their position ready for the family and Lifeboat Padre to take part in the ceremony. It was then that the call came in from the Coastguards to say there was someone in trouble and needed their help. Without hesitation they immediately turned to where the casualty was and they were on their way.

A member of the public had called HM Coastguard to report that there was a person believed to be in difficulty off of Battery Point with their small vessel and was struggling to get back to shore. With the casualty reported to being so close to the busy shipping lane, it was essential that the crew were able to locate them quickly. With 2 minutes of being tasked the lifeboat crew were on scene. They were able to check over the casualty and return them to the safety of the Lifeboat station. This is the quickest rescue the crew have been able to respond to, as they were already on the water. From being tasked to recovering the casualty was a total of 5 minutes. They were able to return to the ceremony where the family were all delighted that the crew had managed to help someone in trouble at the same time as laying Pete to rest.

Helm Neil said 'It was an emotional time for all of my family but with the rescue happening they were able to find the funny side of it and believed that Pete would have loved being there with us even if in spirit, as our 5th crew member for the morning. We were then able to lay him to rest and go and celebrate his life together. We did have a chuckle at the pub, it was typical that we were tasked, I have missed quite a few family events over the years but at least we made it back in time for everyone this time. My wife’s family were all very pleased we were able to help someone at the same time.’

Thank you to the member of the public who called the Coastguard, it may have been a different story for the person in the water as they were unable to call for help themselves.

If you go to sea, please ensure somebody knows you are going, take a radio or mobile phone in a water proof case so that you can call 999 and ask for help if you get in to difficulty. Please wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid, the cold water will take your breath and you will soon struggle to swim. If you find yourself in trouble #FloatToLive #RespectTheWater #SavingLivesAtSea

Our deepest condolences go to Debbie, Neil and their family for their loss.

RNLI notes to editors
All images are ©RNLIPortishead

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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 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 200 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 140,000 lives.

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

Leaving for the Ashes Ceremony

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

Leaving for the Ashes Ceremony
Leaving for the Ashes Ceremony

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

Leaving for the Ashes Ceremony

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.

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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.

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