Lifeboat hero receives long service award after 20 years of volunteering

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A LIFEBOAT crewman has been presented with a long service badge after clocking up 20 years service with lifeboats in Bridlington and Flamborough.

Steve Emmerson, 51, a volunteer crew member who has worked on RNLI lifeboats in Bridlington and Flamborough, was presented with the badge at a service at Bridlington Priory to remember those who lost their lives in the Great Gale of 1871.

On February 10 that year, a great storm caught many colliers and cargo vessels along the East Coast, driving the boats and crews in Bridlington Bay towards the beach.

In full view of many onlookers, one of the town’s lifeboats, The Harbinger, launched time after time but eventually the seas proved too much for the crews and the lifeboat capsized resulting in loss of six lives.

The service, led by Rev Adrian Cragg, praised the work of the lifeboats and the coastguard before asking Bridlington Coxswain Stewart Mckie to talk to the congregation about the 41 calls of the lifeboats in the past year.

Mr Emmerson, who lives with wife Jill and their three children in Flamborough, was awarded a Humane Society Medal for his bravery during one of the region’s worst maritime tragedies which claimed seven lives.

In 1984, four lives were lost when the coble Carol Sandra sank. Lifeboats from Bridlington and Flamborough were joined by many other vessels searching for survivors and one of them, the fishing boat North Wind, capsized with the loss of three lives and was driven under a cliff.

Mr Emmerson helped to save the captain and his son from the upturned boat by scaling down the cliff on a rope.