Wirral RNLI Lifeguards presented with award for heroic rescue

The RNLI has recognised three Wirral lifeguards with the charity’s prestigious Alison Saunders Award for their part in the rescue of four people from a capsized pleasure boat off Harrison Drive last year.

Last night, the award was presented to Cameron Jacobie, Hayley Webb, and Holly Barden at a special ceremony at the Wirral’s lifeguard support centre. The award was presented by Stuart Wallace the Regional Lifesaving Lead.

The Alison Saunders Award is presented by the charity each year for a single notable rescue across the UK and Ireland, recognising the skill and bravery of RNLI lifeguards.

On 17 April 2022, a pleasure craft had capsized 300m offshore at Harrison Drive Beach with four people onboard. Two decided to attempt to swim to shore, whilst the other two stayed with the capsized vessel.

RNLI lifeguards Hayley Webb and Holly Barden who were working at Harrison Drive beach alerted the Coastguard to the situation and Holly entered the water with a rescue board. Cameron Jacobie was working at neighbouring New Brighton beach and was tasked to the scene to respond with a rescue watercraft.

Making her way on a rescue board, Holly reached the two casualties who were swimming away from the capsized vessel and assisted them to a place where they could safely return to shore. After ensuring that two of the casualties were safe, Holly returned to the capsized vessel to help.

When Holly and Cameron arrived at the scene of the capsized pleasure boat, the two remaining casualties were distressed and shouting for help. The casualties were assisted onto the Rescue Water Craft and safely transported back to shore.

The RNLI’s inshore lifeboat from New Brighton station arrived shortly after and safely recovered the pleasure craft to a safe location.

Pete Rooney, RNLI Lifeguard Lead said, “Lifeguards Holly, Hayley, and Cameron are receiving this award to recognise the exemplary decision-making, timely communications and excellent teamwork between the two lifeguard units.

“Of particular note, was the calmness and professionalism displayed by Holly Barton. Even though this incident occurred during her first shift, she displayed skill and bravery beyond her experience.”

The lifeguards will receive a glass trophy inscribed with their names and framed certificates. A sum of £500 is also given to the awardees to be used to further their lifeguard training experience.

Image: Lifeguards Cameron Jacobie, Holly Barden, and Hayley Webb. Credit: RNLI

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