‘He never came back out of the water’ – Friends honour best mate new video

Lifeboats News Release

In a new video released by the RNLI, friends reveal their heartbreak after Tyler Westlake, 24, was swept into the sea whilst fishing near St Agnes, Cornwall. To honour Tyler, his friends held a 24-hour gaming marathon on Saturday, that raised almost £3,500 for the lifesaving charity.

On 12 November 2020, volunteer RNLI lifeboat crews from St Agnes, St Ives, Newquay, Padstow, and Sennen Cove joined other emergency services tasked with the search for Tyler after he was swept into the sea. Collectively, RNLI volunteers spent 45 hours searching but sadly Tyler was not found.

A new video released by the RNLI hears from Tyler’s friends, including Connor Freeman who tells us: ‘Unfortunately, he never came back out of the water.’ When talking about Tyler, Jasper Knight said: ‘He was really kind and really easy to talk to and it frustrates me that I didn’t have more time to talk to him.’

Close friend, Charlton Cunningham, expressed the importance of safety equipment: ‘I just want to ask anyone who’s thinking of fishing or surfing to make sure you use lifesaving equipment. Lifejackets are so important, if we could turn back time, we would’ve got them.’

On Saturday, a group of Tyler’s friends embarked on a 24-hour gaming marathon, playing popular games Among Us and Worms. The event was a thank you to the RNLI and other emergency services and was held in honour of their friend with whom gaming was a big part of their lives. The JustGiving fundraising page has smashed the original target and is currently at nearly £3,500, including gift aid.

The T-Boys, a name they made up shortly after losing Tyler, include Charlton, Jasper, Connor, Mike Banks, Jake Rostill and Carl Hill. They describe Tyler as ‘full of life’. He loved the sea, whether it be surfing or fishing with friends. They will miss the late nights playing games and laughing till the early hours.

Following the fundraising event, Connor said: ‘Doing something we always did with Tyler as a way of remembering him felt perfect to all of us. Whilst we were playing games and laughing together, it actually felt like we were all there with him again.

‘We'll all take a part of him into everything we do for the rest of our lives so starting with some of the best memories was the best thing we could have done! We know he would be proud of us all for what we've done in his name and how much we've raised for the RNLI.’

Dickon Berriman, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager, said: ‘The charity is extremely grateful that through their grief, Tyler’s friends have chosen to fundraise for the RNLI. It was a huge collective effort by all our volunteers and search and rescue colleagues who worked tirelessly and showed remarkable commitment during the search.

‘Everyone at the RNLI is heartbroken not to have been able to bring Tyler home, he was obviously a very loved friend and he’ll be missed by everyone he touched.’

Note to editors

  • Donate to the gaming fundraiser here: justgiving.com/fundraising/24hrgamingtw

  • An extended version of the video is available upon request including snippets from the 24-hour fundraising event.
  • Interviews with the boys available, please enquire.
  • Photo credit Connor Freeman/Charlton Cunningham.

RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Charlotte Cranny-Evans, on c_cranny-evans@rnli.org.uk or 07393 736 780. Alternatively, please call the Press Office on 012020 336 789.

Connor Freeman

From left to right: Connor Freeman, Tyler Westlake, Jasper Knight, Jake Rostill and Charlton Cunningham.

Conner Freeman/Charlton Cunningham

Tyler Westlake out surfing.

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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For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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.