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Commendations for Thurso lifeboat team after lone rower rescue


By Alan Hendry

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From left: Dougie Munro, Michael Munro, Gordon Gray, Kevin Davidson, Lord Thurso, James Brims, Gordon Munro and Andy Pearson.
From left: Dougie Munro, Michael Munro, Gordon Gray, Kevin Davidson, Lord Thurso, James Brims, Gordon Munro and Andy Pearson.

Commendations have been awarded to seven members of the Thurso lifeboat team who took part in a dramatic nine-hour rescue two years ago.

They were handed over by Lord Thurso, the Lord-Lieutenant of Caithness, when he attended Thurso RNLI station to officially open the recently refurbished upstairs area. It has been named in memory of popular lifeboat volunteer Ryan Davidson.

Lord Thurso was invited by lifeboat operations manager Scott Youngson to cut the ribbon of "Red's Room" as volunteer crew members looked on.

The Lord-Lieutenant was shown a video on the new 80-inch multifunctional monitor of the rescue of a lone rower who, in December 2021, ended up 40 miles out in the Atlantic in exceptionally difficult conditions. The incident was featured on an episode of the BBC TV series Saving Lives at Sea.

Lord Thurso then presented RNLI lifesaving operations commendations to the crew who took part in the rescue – the now retired coxswain Dougie Munro and crew members Andy Pearson, Gordon Munro, Gordon Gray, Michael Munro, James Brims and Kevin Davidson, the latter two being on the inflatable “Y” boat.

Lord Thurso cutting the ribbon at the refurbished upstairs area in Thurso lifeboat station.
Lord Thurso cutting the ribbon at the refurbished upstairs area in Thurso lifeboat station.

The commendation from John Payne, director of lifesaving operations, says: “On behalf of the RNLI, I would like to express my sincere thanks for your dedication and service to Thurso lifeboat station.

"I would specifically like to acknowledge your actions during a service on December 30, 2021, when the Thurso lifeboat, the RNLB The Taylors, was launched to the aid of a lone rower, drifting 40 miles west of Orkney.

"Working as one crew in difficult conditions, you located the casualty vessel and proceeded to tow it back to safety. The rower was recovered to the lifeboat using the Y boat, a challenging task requiring the utmost skill and seamanship, which was successfully completed despite a capsize.

"Your ongoing determination and commitment to saving lives at sea is greatly appreciated."

Following the presentations and refreshments, Lord Thurso named the refurbished area “Red’s Room” in memory of Ryan, who died in March 2021, five months after being diagnosed with cancer.

The Lord-Lieutenant thanked the crew members for their commitment and emphasised the importance of the service they provide to the community. He also stated that, as the representative of King Charles, he wished to pass on His Majesty’s best wishes to all crew.

Lord Thurso was presented with a bottle of Wolfburn whisky.

The refurbishment was completed using funds raised through Ryan’s GoFundMe page and a bequest of money, as well as donations from Thurso High School’s Youth and Philanthropy Initiative and a Midsummer Carnival held at the Weigh Inn.

Lord Thurso holding the 'Red's Room' sign with coxswain Gordon Munro (left) and lifeboat operations manager Scott Youngson.
Lord Thurso holding the 'Red's Room' sign with coxswain Gordon Munro (left) and lifeboat operations manager Scott Youngson.

Main contractor was Norbloc Construction, while A9 Plumbing and Heating, Plowman’s Carpets and G Anderson Electrical were also involved in the refurbishment and Graham Anderson donated new light fittings for the downstairs area.


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