‘Without you, I don’t think we would be here.’
To celebrate National Thank You Week, we’re sharing this letter from Mandy Francis who was rescued, with her daughter, by Criccieth RNLI three years ago. The pair got into difficulty while out walking their dog, Badger, at Black Rock Sands.
Dear Gordon Emery and Michael Howie,
It’s been nearly three years since you rescued my daughter Katie, our collie dog Badger and I from the rising waters at Black Rock Sands near Porthmadog in Wales. It was a beautiful sunny day and we’d been walking along the sandbanks and paddling in the shallow water. But when we turned back, we realised the water had come in around us and cut us off from the shore.
We thought we’d be able to wade back, but we were thigh-high in water after only a couple of steps. The water was so much deeper than we thought and the current was strong. We could feel the force of it dragging us in the water as soon as we stepped in.
We used Katie’s phone to called the Coastguard. She thought I was over-reacting at first, but we were a considerable distance out from the shore and the water was rising fast. I remember feeling frightened and panicking about the situation we found ourselves in.
Your lifeboat arrived after about 15 minutes, during which time the patch of sand we were standing on got smaller and smaller. By the time I got in the boat, I was ankle deep.
I felt so stupid – we had walked on that beach so many times and never realised it was possible to become cut off like that. You were both so kind and reassuring. Over that same summer, you saved many more people just like us, who didn’t realise the dangers of the sandbanks and incoming tide.
If we hadn’t called when we did, things could have worked out very differently. Without you, I don’t think we would be here. We owe our lives to you.
We will never forget that the RNLI saved our lives that day, and we will be eternally grateful to all those involved in our rescue.
With heartfelt thanks,
Mandy Francis, 48 from Maentwrog, Gwynedd, Wales.