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  • Writer's pictureSam Carter-knight

2 Lives Saved

Members of the volunteer crew from Yarmouth RNLI have been awarded with a commendation each for the two lives saved during the Fastnet Race which took place back in July 2023.

On Saturday 22 July 2023, during the 50th edition of the annual Fastnet Race, that takes place between Cowes and Cherbourg, Yarmouth RNLI were requested by HM Coastguard to attend to several incidents during a matter of hours which included the rescue of two sailors whose boat had unfortunately sunk at Dolphin Bank, situated west of The Needles Lighthouse.

When the RNLI Lifeboat arrived on scene after putting their all-weather lifeboat to good use as it battled through force seven winds and hit waves of three to four metre swells, they were met by the devastating sight of a sunken vessel leaving the two crew in an inflatable life raft awaiting the prompt response of the RNLI volunteer crew. In attendance was Coastguard Helicopter 175, who stood by whilst Yarmouth crews made their initial casualty assessments. It was then decided that Yarmouth RNLI would transfer both casualties back to Yarmouth Harbour where an ambulance awaited their arrival to treat minor injuries sustained whilst evacuating the sinking vessel onto their life raft.

Howard Lester, Yarmouth RNLI Coxswain said: 'The Fastnet Race 2023 was the busiest one for Yarmouth Lifeboat, responding to six incidents in some very challenging conditions in the Western Solent and beyond.'

Mark Dowie, Chief Executive expressed his sincere thanks on behalf of the RNLI for the dedication shown by the volunteer crew on board Yarmouth Lifeboat that day.

In his commendation he said: ‘As a result of your actions two lives were saved. Your determination and commitment to saving lives at sea is greatly appreciated.’

Yarmouth RNLI volunteers were presented with their commendations at their Christmas party in December in front of partners, fellow crew, Jeremy Wilcock the Lifeboat Operations Manager and members of the Lifeboat Launch Authority.

Other awards presented at this function also included a 30-year service award for Coxswain Howard Lester and a 40-year service award for Lifeboat Medical Officer, Dr George Thompson. Two thank you letters in recognition for service were also handed to Hamish Fletcher who was the administration officer for many years, and Mike Harrison who was part of the Deputy Launch Authority for 22 years and launched the boat on service a total of 48 times during his service.

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