Nigel Forrest completes 40 years serving in the famous RNLI yellow wellies
As the Mayday annual 'Yellow Wellies' campaign draws to a close, the volunteers of Llandudno RNLI are delighted to be celebrating the landmark achievement of 40 years’ service for Nigel Forrest.
Nigel has served on seven different Llandudno lifeboats and served under four different Coxswains. During those forty years he has been involved in rescuing hundreds of people and saving several lives, undertaking a variety of different roles including that of Assistant Mechanic and Talus tractor driver for the Andy Pearce for many years.
Nigel can recall many significant events over the years including taking the retiring All-Weather Lifeboat Lilly Wainwright to Ireland in the teeth of a ferocious storm on the Irish Sea and, closer to home, a dramatic inshore lifeboat rescue saving the life of a casualty off Llandudno Pier.
Nigel was also involved in the Towyn Floods in February 1990, when the North Wales seaside town of Towyn was devastated by the sea. The combination of strong onshore winds, low pressure and spring tides caused severe flooding and damage.
North-westerly gales and a deep low pressure raised the sea level by 1.5m (4.9ft), creating a storm surge in the Irish Sea. The sea breached a railway embankment and hundreds of tonnes of seawater rushed through the streets flooding hundreds of homes and caravans.
Nigel remembers, 'with my Llandudno colleagues, we were there for three days doing our best to help the public during a terrible disaster. It is an incident I will never forget especially as my daughter was born at the same time'. A Special Framed Certificate presented to the station for services during the Towyn floods recorded how 'Llandudno lifeboat crew strove tirelessly for up to 16 hours each day and succeeded in helping over two hundred persons to safety'.
Captain Marcus Elliott Lifeboat Operations Manager for Llandudno RNLI said ‘It’s a fantastic effort by Nigel, to have been a steadfast crew member, for the last 40 years. Nigel has given great service to Llandudno RNLI and we are immensely proud to honour his achievements'.
Current Coxswain Graham Heritage added, 'Nigel has for so many years consistently made himself available for duty, he is a most willing and reliable hand who has made a massive commitment for such a long time. He is the epitome of a loyal volunteer'.
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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.