Hartlepool RNLI crewmembers Eddie Mason and Rob Archer recently received their RNLI 20 years long service awards.
Eddie or 'Loud Ed' as he is known by crewmates and lives in Hartlepool said 'Most importantly I'm part of the amazing crew who volunteer to save lives at sea. We are not judgemental we just want to bring people back to shore safely offering whatever we can do to help. I do enjoy the banter at the station during shouts or social events which is probably where I got my 'Loud Ed' nickname from'.
'As with all the crew here we could not provide the commitment to the role without the support from our families so I would like to thank my wife Michaela and daughter Eden for being there for me when my pager has gone off and I have to rush away to the boathouse in the middle of family events or in the middle of the night. Its always nice to come home after being at sea to see their smiles and I must also mention my colleagues at Sky for there continued support over the years'.
Rob Archer from the Headland, Hartlepool says that his reason for joining was that a family member was previously on the crew and he wanted to follow in his footsteps.
The first problem for Rob when he joined was finding some wellington boots for his size 15 feet. 'Apparently they had to have some specially made for me' said the 6ft 6'' offshore worker.
When asked about some of the incidents he has attended he said 'Rescuing the young child at Steetley Pier recently was special, more so after the sad outcome to another incident I attended a few hours earlier nearby'.
Rob also recalled rescuing a man stuck in a large pool of water and sand at Seaton Carew was very challenging. 'The tide was coming in quickly so thanks to some great team work with my fellow lifeboat crew, coastguards and fire service we got him out just in time and this was the shout that won us the 'Pride of Britain' award which was amazing' and amongst some of the random moments he remembers the time he discovered a portable toilet floating out to sea whilst out on a training exercise and towed it back to the Ferry Road boathouse as it could have been a hazard to small boats at the time.
Rob said 'just like the rest of the crew and their families I have to say a massive thanks to my wife Ann Marie and my two kids Grace and Thomas who have got used to me rushing off to the boathouse at all hours when the pager goes off.
I couldn't do this without their amazing support over the years'.
Hartlepool RNLI Lifeboats Operations Manager Chris Hornsey said 'Both Rob and Eddie are well respected characters at the boathouse and their commitment to the institution over the years has been incredible. I would like to say congratulations to them both from the crew and station officials for their 20 years of playing their part in saving lives at sea'.
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.