LOCAL HEROES HONOURED BY HRH THE PRINCESS ROYAL FOR EXTRAORDINARY BRAVERY AT NATIONAL AWARDS CEREMONY

PUBLISHED: 13:31 07 October 2014 | UPDATED: 13:14 30 August 2017

Shipwrecked Mariners' Society award winners - Cornwall

Shipwrecked Mariners' Society award winners - Cornwall

Cornish helicopter rescue crew recognised for outstanding teamwork and professionalism during the successful recovery of five fishermen

A local helicopter rescue crew has been recognised for outstanding teamwork and professionalism during the successful recovery of five fishermen off the Cornish coast, at a national awards ceremony held by maritime charity the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.

The crew of Rescue 193,’ 771 Squadron, RNAS Culdrose, was presented with the Edward and Maisie Lewis Award by the Society’s Patron, HRH The Princess Royal. The crew members were Kapitänleutnant Steffen Volkwein FGN (Pilot and Aircraft Commander), Lieutenant Paul Smalley RN (Co-pilot), Lieutenant Commander Paul Robertson RN (Observer and Winch Operator) and Petty Officer Mark Richardson (Aircrewman and Winchman).

'Despite technological advances, we still rely upon the bravery of rescue crews and individuals to help those in danger around our coast. We are proud to be able to reward the gallantry of those who risk their lives for the safety of others.'

On 3 November 2013, the crew took part in the gallant rescue of five fishermen from sinking French fishing vessel Panamera’ in atrocious conditions, battling high winds in near complete darkness and with no visible horizon. This was made worse by the failure of their aircraft’s floodlights and a language barrier between the French fishermen and the English speaking air crew.

Despite these problems and with only a couple of minutes of time left afloat towards the end of the rescue, the crew managed to get all five fishermen safely to shore uninjured.

The Charity’s Skill and Gallantry Awards took place on Tuesday 7 October at Fishmongers’ Hall in London. HRH The Princess Royal attended the ceremony and presented the awards. Currently in its 175th year the Charity still recognises the hard work and bravery demonstrated by those who dedicate their lives to protecting Britain’s seafarers.

'This incident epitomises the unique mixture of leadership, teamwork, skill and bravery that enables these crews to effect such amazing rescues,' says Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society Chief Executive, Commodore Malcolm Williams. 'Despite technological advances, we still rely upon the bravery of rescue crews and individuals to help those in danger around our coast. We are proud to be able to reward the gallantry of those who risk their lives for the safety of others.'

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’s primary purpose is to provide financial support to seafarers and their dependants in need. Retirement and injury, leading to lost earnings, can prevent mariners and their families making ends meet. In the last 12 months, the Charity received 650 new applications for assistance and helped in over 2,200 cases of need, amounting to an expenditure of £1.4 million. Over its 175 year history it has helped hundreds of thousands of mariners and their dependants including 51,000 sailors and fishermen during WW1. Since 1851 it has rewarded the bravery of those who risk their lives to rescue others at sea.

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