THREE volunteer lifeboat members from Anstruther RNLI have been recognised for their efforts in saving the lives of a father and son.
Anstruther inshore lifeboat helmsman Barry Gourlay (30) is to be awarded the RNLI Bronze Medal for Gallantry – one of the charity’s highest accolades – for his courage and boat handling skills in difficult conditions during a near-fatal incident at Crail on August 1.
Fellow crew members, Rebecca Jewell (30) and Euan Hoggan (22), will be presented with the Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum for their part.
The rescue took place during the early hours when a vessel was driven on to rocks by three-metre high waves.
The violent motion of the vessel forced crew members Paul Harrison (52), and his son Sean (30), from Liverpool, out on deck where they were in danger of being swept into the sea.
The inshore lifeboat, Norma and Bull Burleigh, was working at its limit in the rough seas and it was so dark that the volunteer crew could not see the waves or the fishing gear that littered the area.
Despite this, the volunteers plucked the two-men from their vessel minutes before it was washed further on to the shore and out of reach.
Barry said: ‘The RNLI trains volunteers to handle all types of life-saving situations and, therefore, we were putting into practice what we have learnt.”
Paul Harrison acknowledged that he and his son could have lost their lives if it wasn’t for the skills of the RNLI crew.
“Those volunteers who rescued us deserve their awards,” he said.
“If they had not turned up, then we would have swum for it but, once we got into the water, we would have had no chance.”