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Since 1851, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society has presented annual Skill and Gallantry Awards to recognise the UK’s unsung sea rescue heroes, as well as those who have given outstanding service to the charity.
The 2023 awards were presented at Fishmongers’ Hall in October. For the full story, click here.
The Lady Swaythling Trophy was awarded to Kriss Leel, 1st engineer of the pair trawler ‘Guiding Light’, for outstanding seamanship in helping save the lives of five trawling fishermen whose boat sank following a collision last year.
The Edward and Maisie Lewis Award, for outstanding air sea rescue, was presented to the crew of an HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Newquay, for the safe rescue of eight passengers onboard a yacht in extremely challenging conditions.
For the first time in the Society’s history, the Grace Darling Award for exceptional bravery was awarded to Emily Greenwood, who displayed incredible composure, stamina, and heroism in rescuing two people caught in a riptide at Holywell Bay in Cornwall earlier this year.
The crew of HMS Diamond was awarded a crew commendation for its determined and heroic rescue of all five crew members of a stricken yacht in the English Channel in November 2022.
The crew of Arcturus was awarded a crew commendation for outstanding selflessness, determination, and professionalism when saving the lives of 31 people in the English Channel in December 2022..
The crew of HMS Mersey was awarded a crew commendation for its determined efforts in a highly important and sensitive operation, when supporting the pan-Government response to the migrant crisis in the English Channel.
The tasks placed upon the crew of HMS Mersey required extra demands upon the ship’s Seamanship Department, who had to manage very significant levels of additional tasking whilst also coping with major shortfalls in its own staff numbers.
This award is given to Honorary Agents of the Society who have given outstanding and long service.
South Shields: Gwen Rayner
Gwen Rayner has been the charity’s Honorary Agent in South Shields since 2021 and has delivered dedicated support to the local community over the past two years.
Gwen has been recognised for her diligent work – responding quickly and efficiently to any requests for support, providing the Grants team with an excellent understanding of the immediate need and building a strong understanding of the people she works with, helping to provide them with valuable and timely support.
Dartmouth: Keith Langworthy
Keith Langworthy, a River Officer in Dartmouth – working as part of the Dart Harbour Team – has served as the Society’s Honorary Agent since 2018 and has responsibility for managing the large collecting mine on Dartmouth’s promenade.
Keith has overcome significant difficulties over recent years, including damage caused by local thieves, but more recently in undertaking a full refurbishment of the mine. Keith began working on the mine during his spare time, including most of his lunch hours, with the very extensive restoration taking over 11 months to complete.
In early 2021, the mine was returned to its pride of place on the promenade, where it has continued to generate much needed funds to support the Society’s work.