Portpatrick coxswain honoured

RNLI Chairman presents letter of thanks to Coxswain Robert McQueen
RNLI Chairman presents letter of thanks to Coxswain Robert McQueen

A Portpatrick lifeboat coxswain has had his bravery and service recognised.

Robert McQueen received a letter of thanks from the RNLI’s new chairman, Charles Hunter-Pease, for his role in a gruelling rescue earlier this year.

Mr Hunter-Pease attended Tobermory’s annual Lifeboat Day to present Robert and another coxswain with letters of appreciation for their part in the rescue of a fishing boat.

As locals and visitors alike enjoyed Lifeboat Day, Robert, who regularly provides relief cover at Tobermory, and Tobermory RNLI coxswain Andrew McHaffie were presented with letters of thanks from the chairman and director of operations for their part in an 11-hour and 90-mile rescue of a fishing boat in 60mph winds and six-metre seas off the Isle of Coll in January.

The letter of thanks is the RNLI’s fifth highest honour. The citation commends Coxswain Robert’s “sound judgement, exemplary leadership, skilful boat handling and excellent foresight throughout the long and arduous service”. Andrew is commended for his “terrific commitment and assistance to Coxswain McQueen”.

Speaking after presenting Robert and Andrew with their letters, Mr Hunter-Pease said: “It’s been an absolute pleasure to make these presentations to Robert and Andrew in Tobermory, which is a place I know well having sailed in these waters. It also gives me particular pleasure to present my first letter of thanks as chairman to Robert who, as a relief coxswain, has worked at over 20 RNLI stations around the coast.

“I want to pay tribute to Robert, Andrew and the crew involved in the rescue in January. This was a long and complex service carried out in gale-force winds and big seas and is a great example of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to save lives at sea.”