The Royal National Lifeboat Institution has formally recognised the efforts of all involved in the recent rescue of two girls from the sea at Dawlish by sending letters of commendation to, not only the Exmouth RNLI volunteer crew, but the young girl who kept her friend afloat and the two young men on shore that helped by throwing in floatation aids.
The two girls had been walking along a sea wall on the evening of 9th October 2010, when they were both swept into the sea by waves. The waves of two to three metres in height were crashing into the sea wall, rebounding into the incoming waves creating a turmoil of confused breaking seas some 10 to 15 metres from the wall. In the fading light, the three Exmouth lifeboatmen had to work fast to rescue the girls – one of girls was semi conscious and being held up by her friend.
The three volunteer crew that day were Giles White, Helmsman with many years experience, who also works as a fire fighter. Andy Smith, an experienced crewman and trainee Helmsman who is also a long served paramedic and Andy Williams, a new probationary crewman and local fisherman for a shellfish company.
Andy Williams, age 31, joined the crew only 11 months ago and has already been involved in a number of rescues. He said: “I’d always wanted to be a lifeboatman but wasn’t sure how to go about it or how to approach Exmouth RNLI. Once the crew had moved into the new building I went over and introduced myself to the Coxswain Tim Mock. I was a bit nervous of doing so but Tim soon put me at my ease and we had a chat about my background, what would be expected of me and how available I could be. He said it was very important that I had the full support of my employer to be able to attend emergency call outs. My boss Myles Blood Smyth at Exmouth Mussels is very supportive of the RNLI charity and so I knew that would be OK. Myles actually drove me to the boathouse one time when we had a call out! “
“Like any job, you do have to go through an initial interview process and then you become a probationer for one year. In my first year, I have been to Poole HQ to do inshore lifeboat training and there are more courses to come. We also get in house training each week. It has been one of the most satisfying things I have ever done and to receive this letter of commendation is very humbling, not just for me but for all volunteer crew members. I recommend anyone who is thinking of becoming a crew member to contact the station in the first instance. There is no commitment at that stage, just an informal chat, but it helps to have an understanding of what is involved and Tim will explain that fully.”
Coxwain Tim Mock, said; “It’s great to receive some good news and it is very well deserved for the three Exmouth lifeboatmen concerned. We have a good team here at Exmouth but are always on the lookout for new volunteers, not just as crew but as shore helpers too. I would welcome any initial enquires either by phone or email.”
The new boathouse has been operational for just over a year and in that time has seen 73 call outs. The boathouse has also been the venue for various training events including Radar training and Flood Rescue Training. Many people have visited the station on organised tours co-ordinated by Alison May. For further information on visits or becoming a volunteer please contact the boathouse on (01395) 263579 or email email@example.com. Visiting forms are available on the website www.exmouth-lifeboat.org.uk.