36 years ago the RNLI Bronze Medal was awarded to Hartlepool RNLI Coxswain Robert Maiden.
The medal was awarded in recognition of the courage, determination and seamanship displayed by him when he took the lifeboat in four times in a severe northerly Force 9 Gale, gusting 11, rain squalls and heavy sea to rescue four crew members from the Dutch cargo ship Anne aground on the Longscar Rocks at Seaton Carew, Hartlepool on 10 November 1985.
The current Hartlepool RNLI Coxswain Robbie Maiden remembers the night the 'Anne' ran aground as he was driving his mam and dad Robert Maiden Snr who was Coxswain at the time to a 'Hartlepool Yacht Club' dinner at the Grand Hotel in Hartlepool Town Centre when the call came that the the ship was in trouble off Seaton Carew.
'Dad took the lifeboat out wearing his dinner suit complete with dickie bow tie under his waterproofs that night.
Disappointingly he would not let me go out to sea with him as the weather was atrocious and made me stay at the boathouse, I guess I was seventeen or 18 at the time'.
After several runs up to the ship they had everyone off with the only notable injury to crewmember Eddie Porrit who apparently cracked his head on the ships hull during the rescue but a sticking plaster applied to the injury and a pint of Trophy beer consumed later that night back on dry land and Eddie was right as rain.
Even today I'm still very proud of my dad for his bravery that night and I think he would most likely say the medal was for the crew on the lifeboat as well.'
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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