Awards for Happisburgh lifeboat crew after busy year

Happisburgh lifeboat crew awards - the crew with their service award for a saving a man from the reefs

A dramatic rescue of a man trapped near a reef has earned an award for a north Norfolk lifeboat crew.

Happisburgh lifeboat crew awards - Mechanic and tractor drver Bob Mann with his achivement award

The Happisburgh RNLI crew was mapping the old sea defences and checking the new ones - the reefs at Sea Palling - on July 5 when they spotted a boat near a reef.

Happisburgh lifeboat crew awards - Cubitt Siely with his 30-year long-service award

When they checked it they found a man trapped by ropes in the water. The crew went into the water, cut him free, recovered him to the lifeboat and gave him first aid for shock and possible hypothermia.

They contacted the coastguard and on returning to the beach RNLI lifeguards helped transport the man to the awaiting ambulance.

Station spokesman Phil Smith said: 'Had it not been for Happisburgh's training session on that evening the outcome may have been much more serious, and this highlights the dangers of going to sea alone.'

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It was one of two rescues during the year which saw new 'service awards' given in recognition of lives saved.

The crew involved was senior helm Tim Grimmer, Tony Phenix, Christian Larter and Charlotte Siely - along with shore crew Bob Mann and Sea Ferguson, and duty deputy launching authority Robert Ferguson.

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The other lifesaving rescue involved a June 20 launch to a man with chest pain on a boat 4½ miles north of the station.

In 2012 Happisburgh's Spirit of Berkhamsted boat launched 12 times, and its Friendly Forester II 8 times. On six occasions they both launched on the same job.

Callouts were to missing persons, broken down boats, people in the water, inflatables blown out to sea, and people trapped on reefs.

Friendly Forester II went out of service in October and was replaced by a newer Atlantic 75, Douglas Paley, which had been based at Appledore in Devon since 1997. It was a gift from Mrs Evelyn Anne Paley in memory of her late husband Air Commodore Douglas Paley. It has just had a major refit at the RNLI workshops at Cowes, Isle of Wight.

The achievements of the busy year were charted at the annual awards and dinner dance held at the Sutton Staithe Hotel, attended by 100 people.

Cubitt Siely received an RNLI's 30-year long service badge. Mechanic Bob Mann was given the achievement award for high standards of boat maintenance.

Seven people on station received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal - Cedric Cox, Cubitt Siely, Tim Grimmer, Tony Phenix, Matt Bales, Justin Arnold and Philip Smith.

Other highlights included a £10,000 for station training from Mrs Fox, in memory of her husband. The money was put to good use with 18 of the station's members (13 crew and five shore crew) doing, and passing, an RNLI First Aid Course. Other training - for crew, helm, tractor driving and radio - was done at the RNLI College in Poole - on top of all the training done on station, on Tuesday evening and Sundays mornings.

Ross Scannell and Alex Willoughby passed out as full crew. Christian Larter passed out as a D Class helm. Bob Mann passed out as mechanic for both Lifeboats and tractor.

Seven people left the station, but the station also gained three crew and one shorehelper.

Fundraising went well with lifeboat day, despite the weather, raising over £5,000. The dinner dance itself raised £545 from raffle tickets and donations.

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