Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Bangor’s Lifeboat heroes get Freedom accolade

Lifeboat volunteers are to be awarded the Freedom of North Down Borough Council on Saturday for their heroic service over 45 years.

The RNLI Bangor Lifeboat — the crew, station management, fundraisers and helpers — are all volunteers, braving all weathers, 24 hours a day, each day to help save lives at sea.

Volunteer Kevin Baird called the award “a real honour. Every rescue is varied. The most rewarding rescue is when you actually save someone’s life”.

Bangor lifeboat can launch in under four minutes. Memorable callouts include:

e Just before Christmas 1992 the crew were informed that a horse had run off on the beach near Larne Lough and was swimming to Scotland. When the coxswain asked the Coastguard what was expected of the crew, hay and sugar lumps were suggested! Armed with mints the crew set off, but were recalled after the horse swam back.

e Bangor Lifeboat assisted Larne Lifeboat in the rescue of a group of missing climbers on the coastline around the Gobbins cliffs near Islandmagee in August last year. The five climbers were discovered on a ledge some 15ft to 20ft above the sea. The lifeboats helped by illuminating the scene and the five climbers were winched to safety by helicopter.

e Belfast Coastguard requested Bangor Lifeboat to rescue six children being swept out to sea on a homemade raft in Belfast Lough in July last year. The crew sped to Whiteabbey to find the children had already been rescued by the public. Three children were taken to hospital suffering from shock and mild hypothermia.

e A father and daughter were rescued by Bangor Lifeboat in June last year in Whitehead Bay off Co Antrim. The dingy capsized and the teenager in the canoe had gone to aid her father. The cold, exhausted duo were plucked to safety by the lifeboat crew.

e In May last year the lifeboat went to assist a girl aged nine with suspected spinal injuries after falling 6ft from the promenade at Ballyholme Beach along the coast from Bangor. A violent gust of wind caused her to fall from the promenade onto compact sand below. Paramedic requested lifeboat help and two crew members arrived to place the young girl on a stretcher and lift her safely to a waiting ambulance.

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