Praise for brave lifeboat volunteer

Richard Shaw
Richard Shaw

A BRAVE lifeboat volunteer who risked his life to jump between two boats in treacherous seas to help a stricken fisherman will be honoured by national chiefs.

Hartlepool RNLI crew member Richard Shaw will receive a letter of appreciation signed by the Chairman of the RNLI Medical and Survival sub committee.

Hartlepool RNLI Lifeboat volunteer Richard Shaw.

Hartlepool RNLI Lifeboat volunteer Richard Shaw.

The accolade follows the 33-year-old’s role in the rescue of angler Keith Ellerby, who was swept into the sea by a large wave off the breakwater at South Gare, near Redcar.

The Hartlepool crew were called to assist the Redcar crew and Richard was required to help exhausted Redcar members give 64-year-old Mr Ellerby CPR.

The crews tackled strong winds, poor visibility and waves of up to 12ft to get to the man.

As the crews’ boats entered the calmer seas near the mouth of the River Tees, with the Redcar members having rescued Mr Ellerby, Richard had to jump from Hartlepool’s inshore lifeboat to the Redcar boat to help resuscitate the angler.

Richard, who lives on Hartlepool’s Headland with his partner Christine Bage, a 31-year-old teaching assistant, and their three children, said: “It was a case of we had to do something, simply because Redcar had been working on the man for a long period of time.

“They were totally exhausted and the man had been in the water well over half an hour.”

Describing his heroic actions in jumping between the boats, he said: “You don’t think about it – you have got confidence in the crew you are serving with and you know the kit is the best kit they can provide.

“At the time you don’t think of the risks.

“You have got a job to do and the training takes over, the training is second-to-none, and you go into auto-pilot.”

Sadly, Mr Ellerby later died in hospital after suffering from water ingestion and hypothermia.

Richard, an offshore worker who has been with Hartlepool RNLI for 10 years, said: “It’s nice to have recognition for what we do.

“Certainly it’s something I’m quite proud of but at the same time I don’t think I did anything you wouldn’t do on any other occasion.

“Unfortunately the outcome was as sorry as it was when the gentleman passed away, but certainly it was a very good team effort.”

Richard will receive his honours during a ceremony at the Hartlepool Lifeboat Station on May 17.

Mike Picknett, 43, helmsman of the Redcar crew, will receive the RNLI’s highest honours, the Thanks of Institution Inscribed on Vellum, for his part in the rescue, which happened on October 24 last year.

His fellow crew members Mark Reeves, 41, and Barry Knaggs, 43, will get framed letters of thanks from RNLI chairman, Admiral the Lord Boyce.

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