Rescued Deeside Man Joins Generations of North Wales Families on Call Over the Festivities to Launch RNLI Christmas Appeal
On Christmas Day it will be business as usual for the RNLI’s volunteers around the Welsh coast, who will be keeping a watchful eye on their pagers at the dinner table. It’s a tradition that one rescuee from Flintshire says we should be eternally grateful for, after he was dramatically rescued by Flint RNLI when his yacht began to list in the dark after becoming wedged beneath a bridge.
Phil Mcintyre says he was amazed to see volunteers roused from their beds at 2am to offer assistance to a stranger. He has now pledged to make a donation to the RNLI to support this year’s Christmas appeal. He says: ‘I honestly can’t believe that these people answer the call for help any time of the day or night, and do it voluntarily. They came out to me in the early hours and I will never forget the care and compassion they showed me and the look on their faces. I’m completely in awe that they would even do this at Christmas, leaving their own families to go and bring someone else’s loved one back safely.
‘I’m not sure what would have happened if they’d have not come to rescue me. It was cold and pitch black and my boat was listing. I will be forever grateful and hope people give generously to their Christmas appeal to ensure they can continue saving lives at Christmas and any other day of the year.’
Volunteering with the RNLI runs in the blood for some families, making the chance of an empty table as the turkey is served up more of a likelihood. Fathers and sons such as Chris and Brian Dobson from Flint, will be ready to respond if there is an emergency at sea.
Brian began volunteering for the RNLI in 2016 shortly after his 17th birthday. He was keen to follow in the footsteps of his dad who is one of the helms at Flint RNLI. Through his dedication and commitment he has achieved his goal of being the youngest helm on station at just 21 years of age. He is fully qualified to take command of the station's D-Class lifeboat Lady Barbara.
This will be his first Christmas on call as helm.
Brian said: ‘I always knew I wanted to be a crew member, I’ve grown up with my dad volunteering and seen first-hand the satisfaction he’d get coming home from a shout and being able to help someone. Being the youngest helm at Flint really is quite a privilege and if the call does come on Christmas Day, here’s no better gift than knowing you’ve helped someone and returned them safely to their loved ones.’
‘I’m always overwhelmed by the support we have from the community as without this we couldn’t carry on doing what we do. I hope people will give generously towards the Christmas campaign and help us to save every one.’
It’s a similar situation, further along the coast Rhyl with dad and son Evan Edwards and Tommy Edwards ready to answer the call. Tommy joined the RNLI crew in Rhyl in the Spring after turning 17. This will be his first Christmas on call.
He has followed in the footsteps of dad Evan, who has spent three Christmas’ listening out for the sound of his pager. Evan is the head launcher, tractor driver, and a crew member for both the all-weather and inshore lifeboats at Rhyl.
They will be spending Christmas at home in Rhyl and are happy to swap turkey and tinsel for the high seas should the call come. Mum Jodie and teenage sister Bethan will be quite prepared to be dining alone should anyone be requiring Evan and Tommy’s help.
Evan said: ‘I’m so proud that Tommy decided to join the crew at Rhyl. It’s something he’s grown up with and as he’d grown up he’s got used to dad having to dash away during family meals or other special occasions. Christmas is no different. It’s what we’re trained to do and if someone needs our help, then we go. We couldn’t do what we do however without the support of the public and we would be so incredibly grateful for any support to our Christmas appeal this year.’
With thousands of volunteers around the UK and Ireland, each RNLI crew member signs up to save every one from drowning – it has been the charity’s mission since 1824.
Over the past decade, RNLI lifeboats have launched over 1,200 times during the festive period.
But these rescues would not be possible without donations from the RNLI’s generous supporters, helping to fund the essential kit, training and equipment needed by lifeboat crews all year round.
Matt Crofts, RNLI Lifesaving Manager for Wales says: ‘With the increase in staycations and more people than ever heading to the coast, it has been an exceptionally busy year for our crews.
‘Even at Christmas, our lifesavers are ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice and rush to the aid of someone in trouble on the water. At this time of year, the weather’s at its worst and lives are on the line.
‘We know that every time our crews go out they hope for a good outcome, but sadly this sometimes isn’t the case. We hope that this year’s Christmas appeal will show people just how tough it can be, but also that with their help we can get so much closer to our goal of saving every one.’
To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal visit: RNLI.org/Xmas
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Eleri Roberts, RNLI Regional Media Officer on 07771 941390.
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.
Learn more about the RNLI
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries