Lifeboat crews get airborne escort as torch speeds through Welsh strait

Lifeboat crews are more used to daring rescue missions than sporting celebrations but they did not look out of their depth yesterday as they whisked the Olympic torch up the Menai Strait.

The torch relay started its 11th day on Anglesey and a convoy of four RNLI lifeboats helped carry the flame along the water separating the island from mainland Wales.

Racing against the stopwatch to get from their boathouse to the pier at Menai bridge in 15 minutes, the crews managed to make it to the finishing line on time.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

They were escorted from the air by an RAF Sea King rescue helicopter and an RAF Hawk jet.

Speaking after the torch had been successfully dropped off at the bridge, deputy division inspector for the RNLI in Wales and the Isle of Man, Matt Crofts said it had been a “prestigious honour” to transport the torch.

The 39-year-old said: “Our volunteers here have worked tirelessly, they have put hours into this, we have done two rehearsals to make sure everything went right.It was a really good showcase of the work the RNLI does on the beaches and off shore.”

A flotilla flying Union and Welsh flags.

The bearer aboard the Atlantic 85 B-class lifeboat was local women’s rugby international Elen Evans.