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July 23 2014.

Newhaven lifeboat crew and fundraisers were recognised with a number of awards for their considerable contributions to the RNLI, with Paul Legendre receiving a ‘Thanks of the Institution on Vellu
m’. All the awards were presented by Mr Charles Hunter-Pease OBE, who was appointed as Chairman of the RNLI in 2013. He has been a member of the RNLI Council since 1996. He was formerly a Senior Vice President of Volvo in Gothenburg.

Paul Legendre was presented with the RNLI’s ‘Thanks of the Institution on Vellum’ for his role in the search for 14-year-old Dylan Atkins, who was swept into the sea off Newhaven's West Beach on 27 October 2013. The crew were presented with a ‘Framed Letters of Thanks’.

Paul’s ‘Thanks of the Institution on Vellum’ was the highest award given by the RNLI for services during 2013.

Amid dreadful sea conditions and storm force ten winds, Paul led his volunteer crew during an extensive search from the shoreline to the open sea. Conditions were made more challenging by waves rebounding from the nearby breakwater and breaking over the lifeboat, forcing the crew to rely on their safety lines as they were knocked from their feet.

Such was the ferocity of the sea, one wave tore the handrails from the after end of the lifeboat, forcing Coxswain Legendre to briefly seek shelter in the harbour to assess the damage and check his bruised crew. Less than twenty-five minutes later they returned to the open sea to continue searching in the failing light.

Mr Charles Hunter-Pease OBE, said: "The seamanship Paul displayed during this service was second to none and the concentration required to hold the lifeboat in position in shallow waters and breaking waves was intense.

"This shows the dedication, bravery and teamwork demanded of a lifeboat crew working in extremely challenging conditions to try to save a life."

Newhaven lifeboat Operations Manager Mike Tubb was presented with a Framed Letter of thanks for Newhaven lifeboat station

A one minute silence was held as a mark of respect for Dylan who has not been found.

Fundraising Awards: There were three Volunteer Awards being presented, namely a Gold Badge for Roy Fenner, the Treasurer of the Society, a Bronze badge for Peter Mercer, Vice-Chairman of the Society, and a Framed Letter of Thanks for Graham and Paula Hillman, Joint Secretaries.