Pride of the town


EMERGENCY services in Hartlepool have been recognised by civic leaders for the part they played in saving a young man’s life.

Hartlepool Lifeboat Station crew members, with support from HM Coastguard, risked their own lives to rescue Neil Robson who was trapped in quicksand in a freak incident at Seaton Carew last summer.

The lifesavers hit the headlines again late last year when they landed the Daybreak Emergency Services Award at the Pride of Britain Awards ceremony, in London, which was hosted by Carol Vorderman and screened on national television.

This week the lifesavers were once again given centre stage after being invited to Hartlepool Council’s Chairman’s Parlour to receive a further award.

Council chairman Stephen Akers-Belcher presented the Hartlepool Lifeboat Station and HM Coastguard with a Pride in Hartlepool award and congratulated them on their gallant efforts.

Coun Akers-Belcher said: “Your efforts in saving a young man’s life were quite remarkable and you deserve every bit of recognition you have received.

“The town of Hartlepool is very fortunate to have such professional, willing individuals who are prepared to put their own lives at risk to save others. You are the Pride of Hartlepool and I thank you immensely for what you have done.”

Mike Craddy, lifeboat operations manager at Hartlepool RNLI said: “It was a pleasure to accept this invitation to the Chairman’s Parlour, we did not expect to receive any recognition for the part we played in the rescue of Neil.

“As Lifeboat volunteers we do the job because this is what we enjoy, want to do and are trained for, to receive this award is a boost for everyone at

Hartlepool lifeboat station and is most appreciated.”

Billy Spurs, station officer for Hartlepool Coastguard, added: “The Coastguard team were very humbled to be invited to the Chairman’s Parlour.

“We were not expecting to receive an award but it will certainly be given pride of place in our offices.”

The drama involved five lifeboat crew members jumping into the water to help free 17-year-old Neil.

With the quickly-rising water reaching their chests, plumber Liam Dunnett and lecturer Mark Barker fought to keep Neil’s head above water.

BT engineer Darren Killick, offshore crane operator Rob Archer and quantity surveyor Matt Adams removed their life-jackets to dig the sand away from Neil’s legs.

With just moments to spare before the water would have covered Neil’s face, he was freed from the sand and suffered only mild hypothermia, cuts and bruises.

HM Coastguard officers Colin Lodge and Chris Hornsey were first on the scene and played their part too in saving the young man.

Speaking recently, Neil, from Peterlee, said: “I thought I was going to drown.

“It was a horrible feeling and I’ll always be very grateful to those who saved me.”