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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Cumbrian lifeboat heroes are honoured for rescue

Two lifeboat heroes will be honoured for their part in a dramatic rescue in Whitehaven Harbour.

Whitehaven trawler rescue photo
The incident scene

Related: West Cumbria sea rescue one of most difficult for years

Both men will receive one of the RNLI’s highest honours – the Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum.

With a seriously injured crewman on board, an 80ft trawler had suffered mechanical failure and was being battered against the outer harbour wall.

But Workington’s lifeboat crew came to the rescue of the stricken George Lou-N as it yawed in 13 ft waves.

Coxswain John Stobbart, 53, “demonstrated remarkable boat handling skills and leadership” when he and his crew braved storm force winds on December 7.

Andy Rodgers, 33, RNLI divisional maintenance manager was also praised for his courage.

Mr Rodgers, of Bridlington, leapt from the harbour wall onto the trawler to assess the man’s injuries.

Sarah Nimmo-Scott, RNLI deputy divisional inspector, said the actions of Mr Stobbart, Mr Rodgers and the volunteer crew not only saved the man’s life but saved the vessel from breaking up against the harbour wall.

She said: ‘The actions of Andy Rodgers in taking the initiative to gain access to the casualty vessel were selfless and brave.

“By doing this he was able to give an accurate report of the situation to the approaching Workington lifeboat allowing the coxswain to formulate a plan.

‘The boat handling displayed by Coxswain Stobbart was of the highest order and ensured that the fishing vessel was brought under control in a very confined space.

“It is to his credit that it suffered no further damage during the tow through the narrow lock entrance and into the inner harbour.

“Under his leadership, the crew of Workington lifeboat performed very well and displayed professionalism and teamwork throughout.”

Mr Stobbart used the lifeboat to skilfully nudge the trawler into the inner harbour wall, where it was secured, and paramedics were able to get on board to tend to the injured man.

The man, who had a severe head injury and an injured arm, spent five days in an induced coma and recovered from his injuries.

The decision to award Mr Stobbart and Mr Rodgers the vellum was made at a meeting of the charity’s Trustee Committee on Wednesday.

The other crew involved, both on the lifeboat and on the shore, will receive RNLI Vellum Service Certificates.

They are: Joseph Birkett; Matthew Bryant; Ian Cormack; Richard Glynn; Richard Matear; Stephen McAllister; Michael Cowling; Michael Hughes; Paul McWalters; Steven Wood.

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