Second honour for RNLI helmsman's rescue role
A PORT Isaac lifeboatman has been honoured at a national awards for his leadership, skill and judgment during a dramatic sea rescue.
Helmsman Damien Bolton was presented with the Emile Robin Award by Admiral Sir Peter Abbott at the Shipwrecked Mariners' Society's annual Skill and Gallantry Awards ceremony.
It is the second award made to Mr Bolton for his bravery and that of the inshore lifeboat's crew in attempting to rescue two anglers swept into the water at Tregardock, three nautical miles up the coast, in April 2012.
Earlier this year he received the RNLI's silver gallantry medal and fellow crew members Nicola Bradbury and Matt Main the bronze.
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Peter Sleeman, 60, of Treveighan, near St Teath, was swept into the water as he tried to save his son Paul, 27, who had fallen in.
Paul was rescued but his father died and his body was recovered by the lifeboat.
The crew got within 3m of the cliff face despite the confused and dangerous sea conditions, braving submerged rocks and the risk of the propeller fouling a rope in the water. Though they narrowly avoided broaching when the engine briefly cut out, they managed to get both men on board.
"In an ideal world we'd never have rescues like that, marked with tragedy, but that's why the RNLI's here," Mr Bolton said. "I feel immensely proud of what we did. The three of us managed to effect a rescue that not only saved a life that was near not being saved, but also managed to rescue Pete's body and take it back to his family."
The society's chief executive Commodore Malcolm Williams said: "Every year I'm amazed by the bravery shown by men and women across the UK who risk their lives to save others.
"The outstanding leadership, skill and judgement shown by Helmsman Bolton and the crew's superb teamwork undoubtedly saved a life," he said.
"The awards ceremony is an important event which helps to spread the word about these rescuers' achievements and gives public recognition to their selfless commitment to saving lives at sea."