Porthcawl RNLI’s volunteer crew were paged at 2.17pm on Saturday 18 March by HM Coastguard – during the wedding for fellow crew member Reverend Mark Broadway to Jessie Wilde.

Several crew left the ceremony at All Saint’s Church in Porthcawl to respond to a report that two people were cut off by the incoming tide at Dunraven Bay, Southerndown.

The vicar, Reverend Wayne Massey started the service by saying, ‘switch off your phones, unless you’re lifeboat crew and might get a shout’ but he said ‘I didn’t really expect that 17 minutes into the ceremony the pagers really would sound followed by crew rushing out of the church.’

When the crew arrived at the lifeboat station they swapped suits for drysuits and launched the charity’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat Edna May and D Class lifeboat Hugo Missen. The lifeboats were launched after Porthcawl NCI had spotted two people trapped by the incoming tide at Southerndown and alerted HM Coastguard. Coastguard teams from Llantwit Major and Barry along with the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter based at St. Athan were also tasked to the incident.

Coastguard helicopter landing at Southerndown

The crew of the Atlantic 85 lifeboat were first on scene and crew member Luke Anderson went ashore to reassure the casualties and let them know the plan for how they would be rescued. With there being a large swell with waves breaking onto the shore it was decided the safest way to extract the casualties was by Coastguard helicopter which located a rock slab close to where the casualties and RNLI crew member were which it was able to land on. The helicopter took the two casualties along with the crew member onboard and dropped them all off in a field above the cliff top where the coastguard teams had secured a landing site.

Luke said: ‘Within the space of an hour I was sat in a church for one of the crew’s weddings, then I found myself on the lifeboat, followed by a short trip in a helicopter and ended up stood in the middle of a field in Southerndown. As the surf breaking onto the shore was quite large it was safer for me to get picked up by the helicopter than make my way back out to the lifeboat from the shore.’

Reverend Mark Broadway said: ‘Thankfully I wasn’t on call during my wedding to Jessie but many of the crew who were at our wedding were. It’s the first church service I was involved in where the pagers have gone off. It was quite fitting for our guests to see how RNLI volunteers will drop everything to respond when the call comes as we’d asked guests to donate to our chosen charities rather than give gifts and the RNLI was one.’

‘The D Class crew stopped off outside the church on their way back from Newton slipway to congratulate us just after the ceremony had finished. It was great to see the crew and as they had the D Class with them it gave us a lovely opportunity to have a photo on the lifeboat.’

Full news release with downloadable video and images: Porthcawl RNLI called out during crew member’s wedding | RNLI