October 15 2014.

A local RNLI lifeboat man has been recognised for his leadership, outstanding seamanship and determination for his part in the search for a missing boy, at a national awards ceremony held by The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.

Coxswain Paul Legendre, based at the Newhaven Lifeboat Station, received The Lady Swaythling Trophy for his outstanding seamanship and perseverance, with the award presented by the Society’s Patron, HRH The Princess Royal.

On the 27th of October 2013, a crew of seven led by Legendre took part in a search for a missing boy in severe conditions, west of the Newhaven breakwater. The team battled four to five metre breaking waves and poor visibility, which was made worse by the approaching darkness. The extensive damage sustained by the lifeboat was an indication of the conditions the crew faced during the search.

The crew persevered for six hours in carrying out detailed searches of the area. Despite their outstanding efforts, sadly the teenager could not be found.

Paul Legendre demonstrated exceptional leadership and skill in conducting a safe search in such appalling conditions for which he is being honoured with this prestigious award by the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.

The Charity’s Skill and Gallantry Awards took place on Tuesday the 7th of October at Fishmongers’ Hall in London. HRH The Princess Royal attended the ceremony and presented the awards. Currently in its 175th year the Charity still recognises the hard work and bravery demonstrated by those who dedicate their lives to protecting Britain’s seafarers.
Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society Chief Executive, Commodore Malcolm Williams, said: “Despite the tragic end to this story, Legendre’s exceptional act of perseverance and seamanship was second to none. Despite technological advances we still rely on the bravery of rescue crews and individuals to look after those in danger around our coast. We are proud to be able to reward the gallantry of those who risk their lives for the safety of others.”

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’s primary purpose is to provide financial support to seafarers and their dependants in need. Retirement and injury, leading to lost earnings can prevent mariners and their families making ends meet. In the last 12 months the Charity received 650 new applications for assistance and helped in over 2,200 cases of need, amounting to an expenditure of £1.4 million. Over its 175 year history it has helped hundreds of thousands of mariners and their dependants including 51,000 sailors and fishermen during WW1. Since 1851 it has rewarded the bravery of those who risk their lives to rescue others at sea.

To find out more information about the Charity, visit www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk 
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