Newcastle’s always-on-call lifeboat crew had to abandon their buckets and sponges during a fundraising car wash at the weekend to respond to an emergency at the town’s harbour.
The RNLI volunteers were busily soaping and rinsing cars for their annual Easter fundraiser on Saturday when they were alerted to a woman in trouble in the freezing water a few yards from one of the piers.
The car wash was immediately abandoned and within minutes the inshore lifeboat Aldergrove II was launched and rushed to the woman’s aid.
Meanwhile, crew member Shane Rice grabbed a lifebelt from the pier and jumped into the water to assist the woman. He kept the woman afloat while the Aldergrove II came alongside.
The woman was helped into the rescue inflatable, wrapped in blankets to prevent hypothermia, and taken back to shore where an ambulance was waiting to take her to hospital.
Newcastle RNLI’s Deputy Launching Authority Clifford Moorehead said afterwards: “The lifeboat crew are always ready to respond in an instant to any emergency. It is fortunate that the car wash was in progress at the time and the crew members were on hand to swiftly deal with this case.
“After the rescue the crew members came back to the harbour and resumed their car wash. It’s just all in a day’s work for the RNLI.”