COMMENT: Heroic RNLI crews should be proud of themselves
Many have cause to thank the heroic volunteers of the RNLI, who patrol this country's coastline every day and selflessly put themselves in harm's way to help others who may be in danger.
But three people in particular owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the crews of two lifeboats that were launched from Hayling Island in June last year when severe weather threatened to capsize and break up their yacht.
Imagine how frightening it must have been for those on board the 25ft yacht, which was anchored on a lee shore near to the entrance of Chichester Harbour.
Soon it was pitching violently and uncontrollably and taking on water.
Their lives were at risk and there was no time to waste, so the Coastguard requested Hayling Lifeboat Station to launch both its inshore lifeboats immediately.
Conditions were so bad that the D class lifeboat Jacob's crew of helm Andrew Ferguson and Lloyd Pepperell and Jack Anson lost sight of the yacht several times.
Huge waves were breaking over and into the lifeboat.
Then the larger Atlantic 85 lifeboat Derek Battle also launched under the command of Daniel Macpherson with Sharon Swann, Elly Briggs and Thomas Lincoln as crew.
Battling against the weather conditions, a line was thrown across and the yacht’s anchor line was cut before it was towed back to Chichester Harbour.
It had been a dramatic, life-saving rescue and a powerful reminder of the skill, bravery and teamwork of all those who serve the RNLI.
We're pleased to report today that the seven crew members are all to receive awards for the courage they showed that day.
They fully deserve the recognition and should be proud of themselves, because we are all very proud of them.