Wirral man meets RNLI rescuers for the first time during police awards ceremony

Lifeboats News Release

RNLI volunteers from New Brighton and an RNLI lifeguard have been awarded a Merseyside Police Chief Constable’s commendation. The award is in recognition of their actions during a tragic incident in 2020.

New Brighton RNLI lifeboat was launched at the upper limits of its capability in treacherous conditions following reports of two people and a dog in trouble.

An RNLI lifeguard was pounded by waves as he navigated rocks to offer assistance and helm of the New Brighton inshore lifeboat had to carefully manoeuvre the lifeboat to avoid injuring the casualty in the water or capsizing themselves.

The lifeboat crew were able to reach one of the casualties and the dog and pull them aboard the lifeboat. Sadly, one lady lost her life.

The commendation is awarded to RNLI helm, Michael Stannard, crew members Oz Ramsey, Emily Craven and Thomas McGinn along with RNLI lifeguard senior Lifeguard Cameron Jacobie.

The presentation took place at Aintree Racecourse on Thursday (January 19). The event was attended by Niall, who was rescued by the lifeboat and partner Coral. It was the first time they had come face to face with the crew since the rescue.

Niall said:

‘Meeting the RNLI crew and lifeguards for the first time was an emotional occasion, but something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I will forever be in their debt. The RNLI do such an incredible job and the New Brighton volunteers should be so very proud of what they did that day in such horrendous conditions. I’m so pleased they are receiving this recognition from Merseyside Police, which is so very well deserved.’

Members of the public and a police constable were also awarded for their interventions during the incident.

Chief Constable Serena Kennedy, said:

‘The bravery shown by the lifeguard and crew of the New Brighton RNLI in that tragic incident was commendable. The circumstances and level of risk made it uncertain whether a rescue attempt would even be possible. Nevertheless, they persevered, selflessly putting themselves in danger and sustaining injuries in their attempt to preserve life.

‘I hope that receiving a Chief Constable’s Commendation will remind to them how valued they are, not just by Merseyside Police, but by the whole community. Their daily vigilance keeps all of us who enjoy Merseyside’s coastline safer, and I am proud to work in partnership with an organisation made up such courageous individuals.’

Michael Stannard was also recently presented with RNLI charity’s Bronze Gallantry Medal at St James’ Palace, London by HRH the Duke of Kent for his part in the rescue. Framed Letters of Appreciation and a Medal Service Certificate were presented to RNLI New Brighton volunteers in recognition of the skill, determination and courage demonstrated.

Ian Thornton, RNLI New Brighton Lifeboat Operations Manager said:

‘This commendation is an honour for the New Brighton crew and the lifeguards who went to offer assistance, it is heartening for us to be recognised in this way. However, this was a tragic incident, and our thoughts remain with the family that were involved in this very difficult service. As a crew, the volunteers always launch in the aim to save everyone; unfortunately, this isn’t always possible.

‘The team of RNLI New Brighton are extremely proud of all our team. Without doubt, they saved the lives of the male casualty and the dog that day.’

Notes to Editors

  • Footage: New Brighton RNLI lifeboat battling breaking waves as they save a man and a dog from the water
  • Pictures: The volunteer crew receiving their commendations.
  • RNLI volunteers available for interview upon request

Media Contacts

For further information, please contact Danielle Rush, RNLI Media Relations Manager in the North West on 07786 668829 [email protected].

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RNLI senior lifeguard Cameron Jacobie, Thomas McGinn, Emily Craven, Niall Robinson and RNLI helm Michael Stannard. Oz Nelson is not pictured.

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Michael Stannard meeting Merseyside Police Chief Constable Serena Kennedy

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RNLI senior lifeguard Cameron Jacobie, Thomas McGinn, Emily Craven, and RNLI helm Michael Stannard

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Niall Robinson meets RNLI helm Michael Stannard for the first time since the incident

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Merseyside Police Chief Constable Serena Kennedy presenting Emily Craven with the commendation

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Merseyside Police Chief Constable Serena Kennedy presenting Thomas McGinn with the commendation

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.