Newhaven Lifeboat volunteers presented with awards

Newhaven Lifeboat crew.
Newhaven Lifeboat crew.

Awards were presented to volunteers at Newhaven Lifeboat in recognition of their bravery and hard work.

Coxswain Paul Legendre was presented with a Thanks of the Institution on Vellum by the chairman of the RNLI Charles Hunter-Pease OBE.

Coxswain Paul Legendre with Charles Hunter Pease

Coxswain Paul Legendre with Charles Hunter Pease

Paul was rewarded for his role in the search for 14-year-old Dylan Atkins, who was swept into the sea off Newhaven’s West Beach on October 27, 2013.

The crew were also presented with a Framed Letters of Thanks at the ceremony held at Newhaven Lifeboat House on Sunday July 20.

Mr Hunter-Pease OBE said: “The seamanship Paul displayed during this service was second to none and the concentration required to hold the lifeboat in position in shallow waters and breaking waves was intense.’

“This shows the dedication, bravery and teamwork demanded of a lifeboat crew working in extremely challenging conditions to try to save a life.”

Paul’s Thanks of the Institution on Vellum was the highest award given by the RNLI for services during 2013.

Amid terrible sea conditions and storm force 10 winds, Paul led his volunteer crew during an extensive search from the shoreline to the open sea.

Conditions were made more challenging by waves rebounding from the nearby breakwater and breaking over the lifeboat forcing the crew to rely on their safety lines as they were knocked from their feet.

Such was the ferocity of the sea, one wave tore the handrails from the after end of the lifeboat, forcing Paul to seek shelter in the harbour to assess the damage and check his crew.

Less than 25 minutes later they returned to the open sea to continue searching in the failing light.

Newhaven Lifeboat operations manager Mike Tubb was also presented with a Framed Letter of Thanks.

A one minute silence was held as a mark of respect for Dylan who has not been found.

Fundraising awards were presented too: a Gold Badge for Roy Fenner, the Treasurer of the Society, a Bronze Badge for Peter Mercer, Vice-Chairman of the Society, and a Framed Letter of Thanks for Graham and Paula Hillman, Joint Secretaries.

Mr Hunter-Pease OBE recognised the important role that fundraising plays which enables the operation teams to carry out their lifesaving work.