A NEW book providing a collection of first-hand accounts of some of the most dramatic rescues carried out by RNLI lifesavers around the UK and Ireland over the past 20 years is now on sale.
Surviving the Storms recounts 11 of the charity’s most remarkable rescues from the last two decades. These are stories of extraordinary courage and compassion at sea, providing a rare insight into the life-or-death decisions the RNLI’s lifesavers have to make when battling the forces of nature and saving lives.
From volunteer lifeboat crew members in Scotland rescuing those on board a sinking ship, to lifeguards in Cornwall saving the lives of people just moments away from drowning, this book has an abundance of drama told from the unique perspective of the RNLI lifesavers, as well as those they rescue.
The new book goes on sale on Thursday 11 June 2020, with royalties from all sales supporting the lifesaving charity.
RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, said: ‘Surviving the Storms is a wonderful account of selflessness and bravery although there is no book big enough to do justice to every RNLI rescue and rescuer. We have hundreds of lifeboat stations and thousands of crew members and lifeguards all dedicated to saving lives. Between them, they’ve helped so many people survive the storms and I’m proud of every one of them.’
The book features a rescue from Porthcawl RNLI where the lives of two fishermen were saved by Aileen Jones and her crew. The story is told through the eyes of Aileen, the first female crew member in the RNLI to be award a Bronze Medal for Gallantry and details the events which unfolded that morning back in August 2004.
The lifeboat launched to a fishing vessel that had suffered engine failure and was drifting perilously towards a notorious sandbank. With one of the fishermen onboard seriously injured, Aileen battled force 8 conditions to save the boat and her crew from a situation that would have undoubtably cost them their lives.
Aileen said: ‘I can recall the events of that day remarkably well given the fact it was almost 16 years ago. It was the school summer holidays and I happened to be in earshot of the VHF radio when I heard the call to the Coastguard from the fishing boat. We knew straight away that the boat was drifting dangerously close to the sandbank. If we didn’t get their quickly, the boat and those onboard would be in grave danger.’
Aileen recalls the elation of finally getting a tow line across to the fishing vessel but the almost immediate deflation as the line parted and they were back to square one. She said: ‘After the line went, I knew I needed to get a crew member onboard the vessel to re-establish the tow. The wind and sea conditions did not make that task easy.’
Aileen is extremely proud to see this story feature in the book and is excited to read the tales of her fellow RNLI volunteers who feature. Aileen said: I am immensely proud that this story will feature in ‘Surviving the Storms’. It is an honour, not only for me, but for the crew with me that day to be a part of RNLI history in this way.’
The book, which has a recommended retail price (RRP) of £14.99, is available to buy now.
As well as being available to order online from Amazon and Waterstones, the book is also due to be stocked at supermarkets across the UK including Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda stores, as well as independent book shops and Waterstones stores. It is also available on Kindle, Apple Books and as an audio book.
To order a copy of Surviving the Storms visit https://books.harpercollins.co.uk/surviving-the-storms/
Ben Lake MP stands up for Ceredigion’s hospitality sector in Parliament
A WESTMINSTER Hall debate, brought about by an online petition signed over 200,000 times, saw MPs on both sides come together to shine a light on the challenges currently faced by restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and supply chain businesses across the UK.
During his contribution to the debate, Ben Lake MP emphasised the importance of the hospitality industry to Ceredigion’s local economy. Ceredigion is home to nearly 400 food and accommodation businesses, including 75 pubs, and together hospitality businesses employ 4,500 people in the county. This equates to over 16% of all employees, without accounting for the many supply chain jobs that are dependent on the sector, such as those found in breweries, food wholesale, and catering equipment hire businesses.
Figures published by UK Hospitality have shown that approximately 41% of hospitality businesses suggested that they would fail by mid-2021 and only one in five sector businesses have enough cash flow to survive beyond February.
Ben Lake MP said: “The vaccination programme of course offers some hope that we will see the level of Covid disruption reduce significantly this year, but hospitality businesses across Ceredigion tell me that they are deeply concerned about their immediate prospects for survival.
“I support calls for the Treasury to provide additional funds so that businesses can be supported to bounce back once restrictions have been eased, and to pause employer national insurance contributions for furloughed employees as a way of alleviating the burden on businesses that are still, in many instances, required by law to close. I also urged the Treasury to consider extending the business rates holiday for the forthcoming financial year, as well as extending the hospitality VAT reduction scheme into 2022.
“Not only would these support measures give businesses the support they require to see out this pandemic, it would also avoid the terrible situation whereby businesses that have previously received Government support are forced to close for good – leaving their employees without a job and previous Government support in vain.”
While there will be no direct action as a consequence of this Westminster Hall debate, it is hoped the result will put increased pressure on the UK Government to consider the proposal more seriously.
Lifeboat Operations Manager in New Year’s Honours list
Richard Llewelyn Griffiths the Lifeboat Operations Manager of Aberystwyth Lifeboat Station has been recognised for services to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in Wales.
He has been awarded a BEM.
Having served as a RNLI volunteer for an impressive 47 years, it is his role in the last 21 years as Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) which has earned him the most respect.
His local knowledge has provided reassurance to casualties and crews alike when launching in difficult conditions.
His operational decision-making and station management skills are outstanding, and he is greatly valued by crew, management, volunteers and coastal personnel both past and present.
He has contributed greatly towards Aberystwyth being recognised as a ‘benchmark’ Inshore Lifeboat Station, serving as an example to the whole institution of how a station could and should be run.
Richard said: ‘I’m very surprised but honoured to be receiving a BEM – the news still doesn’t feel real. My father was awarded a BEM in 1988 and I still have his medal at home, so to be awarded one myself for my work with the lifeboats is a great privilege. I’ve been fortunate to work with a number of characters during my time with the RNLI – both at Borth and Aberystwyth – and continue to volunteer alongside a good crew today.’
Nationally, a total of six Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteers have been recognised for their vital role in helping the charity save lives at sea through the New Year’s Honours.
Mark Dowie, RNLI Chief Executive said: ‘Following a challenging 2020, it is particularly pleasing to see these RNLI volunteers recognised in the New Year’s Honours list. Together, they personify the RNLI’s ‘One Crew’ ethos, representing the variety and diversity of roles from a former full-time mechanic to shore crew and fundraisers to station managers, who collectively deliver a shared vision to save every one. On behalf of everyone at the RNLI, congratulations to you all for being recognised for your longstanding service, hard work and selfless commitment. And thank you for everything you do to help the RNLI save lives at sea.’
Temporary closure of Minor Injuries Unit in Cardigan confirmed
AS PART of its response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Hywel Dda University Health Board says it has temporarily closed the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) in Cardigan in order to redeploy clinical staff to support the COVID 19 response within Ceredigion.
The MIU, which is based in Cardigan Integrated Care Centre and normally operates from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, will temporarily close with immediate effect. The situation will be under constant review and normal service will be resumed when it is safe and appropriate to do so.
In the meantime, minor injuries help and advice is available as follows:
– visit the 111 symptom checker (https://111.wales.nhs.uk/)
– visit your local pharmacy
– call 111
– please do NOT self-present to the GP reception in Cardigan Integrated Care Centre as they do not deal with minor injuries.
– for emergency care the A+E departments are as follows:
· Glangwili Hospital A+E Carmarthen SA32 2AF
· Bronglais Hospital A+E Aberystwyth SY23 1ER
· Withybush Hospital A+E Haverfordwest SA61 2PZ