Medals and awards for Trearddur Bay RNLI volunteers
Volunteer crew from Trearddur Bay RNLI were re-presented with their gallantry medals on Saturday night in a local ceremony for their parts in a dramatic rescue.
At the celebratory event at the Treaddur Bay Hotel, attended by crew, partners, colleagues from neighbouring stations and RNLI personnel, one Silver and three Bronze Medals were awarded to the volunteer Anglesey RNLI crew who saved the life of a female surfer.
The charity’s prestigious Silver accolade was awarded to Trearddur Bay helm Lee Duncan in recognition of his leadership, seamanship, and exemplary boat handling in treacherous sea and weather conditions. Bronze Medals were awarded to the volunteer crew, Dafydd Griffiths, Leigh McCann and Michael Doran, recognising their courage and selflessness during the difficult rescue.
The medals were originally presented to the crew by His Royal Highness (HRH) The Duke of Kent, President of the RNLI, at St James's Palace on the 27 May 2022, along with 11 other gallantry awards for meritorious service.
The Atlantic 85 lifeboat was launched on 20 May 2021 following concerns for a female surfer attempting to get ashore and struggling in the water dangerously close to rocks. The weather conditions were severe, with the boat operating at its very limits in a south westerly severe gale Force 9.
The lifeboat reached the mouth of the bay, and the crew observed the surfer in a precarious position 10 metres from the jagged rock face of Cod Rocks. The surfer was clearly struggling to keep her head above water and was continually being forced under the surface.
With wind blowing a constant 45 knots Helm Duncan executed numerous skilled manoeuvres to reach the casualty with precision positioning and impeccable timing, allowing the crew to quickly recover the casualty from the water. At the same time, he ensured the crew and lifeboat were kept as safe as possible whilst the rescue was being carried out.
Lee Duncan displayed outstanding courage in placing the inshore lifeboat some 10 metres from rocks to save the life of a surfer. He received one of the RNLI’s highest accolades.
Bronze Medals were awarded to crew members, Dafydd Griffiths, Leigh McCann and Michael Doran for their courage and selflessness in individually agreeing to take the lifeboat into a challenging area in horrendous weather conditions.
The entire RNLI Trearddur Bay team involved in this most dramatic rescue were also recognised with a Chief Executive’s Commendation.
John Payne, Director of Lifesaving Operations at the RNLI, came to the event to commemorate this meritorious rescue.
Mr Payne said: ‘I’m honoured to have been invited to this event with the Treaddur Bay community and to meet the volunteer crew to present the Chief Executive's Commendation. The helm, Lee Duncan, provided calm and professional leadership in extremely challenging conditions. He was ably assisted by crew members Dafydd Griffiths, Leigh McCann and Michael Doran, who worked flawlessly as a team to recover the casualty.
'The entire team at Trearddur Bay did an exceptional job and this has been recognised with a Chief Executive’s Commendation. The awards and medal presented illustrate how vital every member of the station is in allowing us to carry out our work saving lives at sea.
‘This is the first time a Silver Gallantry Medal has been awarded for a rescue onboard a B Class Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat. I am delighted to have been part of this historic event and to have had the chance to celebrate such achievements.’
The RNLI has also recognised the part played by the Lifeboat Operations Manager Paul Moffett, who was awarded a Chief Executive’s Commendation. This is in recognition of his considered launch decision making, coordination of the shore side activities during the rescue efforts, and meeting the welfare needs of the crew and casualty on their return to the station.
Volunteer tractor driver, Mark Smith, received a Director of Operations Commendation, having conducted a superb execution of the launch and recovery operations in difficult and dangerous sea conditions where he was exposed to the elements throughout.
Paul Moffett, RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager for Trearddur Bay said: ‘The courage displayed by the crew in assisting the casualty at the expense of their own safety really is quite something. That is what RNLI volunteers do and is what they’re trained to do, but this particular incident will stay with us all for a very long time.
‘RNLI crew do not do this for the recognition. However, to be awarded in this way by the Institution and for Trearddur Bay to make history by becoming the first station to be awarded a Silver Medal for an Atlantic 85 rescue really does fill me with an immense sense of pride.’
Notes to editor
· The last Silver Medal awarded by the RNLI was in 2013 to the helmsman of a D-class inshore lifeboat at Port Isaac.
· Photo credits: RNLI/ Phil Hen
· There are two types of B class lifeboat – the Atlantic 75 and the Atlantic 85 – named after Atlantic College in Wales where these rigid inflatable lifeboats (RIBs) were first developed. 75 and 85 represent the lengths of the lifeboats – nearly 7.5m and 8.5m respectively. Introduced into the fleet in 2005, the Atlantic 85 is the third generation of B class lifeboat and is gradually replacing the Atlantic 75.
· The Atlantic 75 lifeboat joined the fleet in 1993, replacing the very first B class rigid inflatable lifeboat – the Atlantic 21 – which served from 1972 until 2008.
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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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