RNLI volunteer Sean Baxter has been awarded the Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum for his bravery in rescuing two holiday makers who were swept off Staithes North Pier

Louisa Barrow and Peter Severs, from Bury, Lancashire, were swept off their feet into the sea. “The wave hit us like a train,” said Peter. “It all went black and then I heard Louisa screaming: ‘I can’t swim. Don’t let me drown.'”

When he saw the couple were in trouble RNLI volunteer Sean Baxter, who is deputy launching authority at Staithes and Runswick RNLI lifeboat station, instructed the lifeboat crew to launch and then ran to where both people had been washed into the harbour by the heavy swell.

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As Sean approached he saw that Louisa had been rescued, but Peter was left clinging to a ladder on the harbour wall. “He had a broken thigh bone and could not move, but had managed to lash himself to the ladder with a rope given to him by a member of the public,” Sean said.

The waves were throwing Peter against the wall and were putting Sean and the people trying to help in danger. Sean evacuated the pier and stayed with Peter. Both Sean and Peter took the full force of several waves as they waited for the lifeboat to reach them.

Louisa said: “I honestly thought we were going to die. The RNLI lads were amazing – they saved our lives, simple as that.”

Sea said: “I’m very honoured to be recognised in this way but I am accepting the award on behalf of all the crew. Any lifeboat rescue is always a great team effort, and it was particularly satisfying on this occasion to get such a positive result from what was a potentially life-threatening situation. Everyone worked incredibly well together to ensure Peter got to safety – not just the RNLI crew but also the helicopter, coastguards and ambulance crew.

“Louisa and Peter came back to the lifeboat station a few months after the rescue and it was quite an emotional visit, but great to see them both fully recovered from their ordeal. Seeing them and hearing how grateful they are was reward enough for all of us.”