20 June 2024

Lifeboat crew collect awards for bravery

Three members of Hornsea Inshore Rescue crew have been presented with the Royal Humane Society’s bronze medals for bravery.

In a ceremony at the Haberdasher’s Hall in the City of London, leading coxswain Karl Shannon and crew members Shona Richards and Carl Handley received their medals from the guest of honour, Parliament’s Black Rod.

Also in attendance was the casualty on the day in question, John Muldowney, who told how if it hadn’t been for Hornsea Inshore Rescue and the three brave crew, he most certainly would not have been there and neither would his dog, Riley.

Mr Muldowney regularly walked Riley along the beach to the north of Hornsea but on this occasion he found himself cut off with huge waves rolling up to the cliff where he struggled to try to stay safe.

Hornsea’s independent lifeboat Spirit of Hornsea was returning from a false alarm with good intent when the crew spotted Mr Muldowney clinging to the cliff face.

After a massive wave deposited the 1.8-ton lifeboat up high on to clay boulders, the crew lifted Mr Muldowney and his dog into the lifeboat before working together to eventually refl oat it.

Back at base, Mr Muldowney was given a change of clothing, warmed up and checked over for any medical issues. An hour later he and his dog were pronounced OK and were taken home by his son.

Karl said: “It was one of the most difficult rescues I have ever been in but we train for all kind of eventualities and our equipment is top-class. We did sustain damage to the boat and the radio was smashed. We lost our GoPro camera to the waves. However, we soon made the boat fit again and we were called out yet again on the evening.

“We, including John, have all enjoyed this celebration at the Royal Humane Society’s AGM.”

Shona said: “It was such a lovely occasion and I am so pleased and very proud to have been awarded the medal.”

However, just as the ceremony was about to start, the crew’s pagers all went off, alerting them to a report of someone stranded on the beach between Hornsea and Mappleton.

This caused much interest and the dignitaries were able to watch live coverage of the launch on the crew’s smartphones.

The casualty in this case was able to reach safety without assistance and the crew were stood down.

It was the first callout for the new Spirit of Hornsea lifeboat, which was swiftly launched by launchmaster Dale Walker with coxswain Steve Hall at the helm and crew Faye Melody, coxswain Rob Carthew and crewman Liam Watson on board.

The crew soon found the casualty who had made his way through the surf and was safely on solid ground.

Steve said: “It was a good outcome but these situations can develop very quickly and we have had to do some dramatic rescues in the past. For a first shout all went very smoothly indeed. The crew proved that the training has been very thorough and the boat handled like a dream.”

Sue Hickson-Marsay, CEO of Hornsea Inshore Rescue and station manager, said: “Four of us crew were at the medal awarding ceremony in London when the pagers went off and it certainly caused a lot of interest and added some realism to the proceedings.”

Hornsea Inshore Rescue is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is a totally independent local rescue organisation supported solely by donations and grants. It is not part of the RNLI.

Visitors and volunteers are always welcome whether they would like to serve as crew (comprehensive training is given), fundraisers or general helpers.

Anyone interested is welcome to phone Sue on 07796 257989 or Ian on 01964 534302.