Prestigious Royal Humane Society award for HM Coastguard Maritime Operations Officer

Alex Hill, Maritime Operations Officer at Holyhead Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), has been recognised by the Royal Humane Society for his bravery and rapid response following an incident at Barmouth Beach last August.

Off-duty and enjoying a day out at the coast with his family at the time, Alex – along with two Gwynedd Council beach wardens Kane Triggs and Jordan Hewlett (pictured below), who were also recognised by the British charity which promotes lifesaving intervention, reacted to multiple people in difficulty in the water at the coastal hotspot in North Wales.

Putting into practice his operational skills and knowledge, Alex – when quickly realising there was danger to life unfolding right in front of his eyes – called 999 and made contact with the coastguard, providing all relevant information to his colleagues at Holyhead so that assistance could be sent to the scene immediately.

A split second after putting the phone down, Alex and the two beach wardens entered the water and helped rescue two young children and one man to the shoreline, before Alex performed CPR on the adult for a sustained period of time.

These events occurred as search and rescue units – which included Barmouth RNLI lifeboat, Barmouth Coastguard Rescue Team, the coastguard helicopter from Caernarfon, Helimed, North Wales Police and Welsh Ambulance Service – made their way to the beach. The adult casualty was passed into the care of the coastguard helicopter and ambulance service.

Alex’s swift but calm intervention under intense pressure recently led to him and beach wardens Kane and Jordan being handed the Society’s ‘Testimonial on Vellum’ accolade, which is awarded to individuals who put themselves in considerable danger to save, or attempt to save, someone else.

The award, as seen in the imagery accompanying this article, is personally signed by the Society’s President, Her Royal Highness, Princess Alexandra, as well as the chairman and secretary of the charity.

Alex was also awarded a ‘Resuscitation’ certificate for his efforts in aiding one of the casualties at the beach and Barmouth Town Council presented ‘Bravery Awards’ to all three individuals.

Alex with Kane Triggs (left) and Jordan Hewlett, pictured centre.

“My experience working with Her Majesty’s Coastguard and familiarity of local conditions as a volunteer of seven years with Barmouth RNLI lifeboat crew enabled me to recognise that these people were in a distress situation and relay a concise, full summary of what the incident was to our Operations Room inside 30 seconds,” Alex, who has been a member of the team at Holyhead for the past three and a half years, said.

“The incident happened in the blink of an eye so it was really important that we reacted as fast as possible – and everyone played their part in helping, including members of the public at the beach – some of whom were trained paramedics.

“It was a joint effort and everyone came together to help in difficult circumstances. I am though most grateful for the awards and would like to thank the Royal Humane Society and council.

“In the months that have followed this incident, I would also like to personally thank my colleagues at Holyhead, MRCC commander Rob Bowyer and HM Coastguard Divisional Area Commander Alun Newsome for their help, unwavering support and kindness they have shown to me after this incident.”

Katie Price, of Barmouth Town Council, pictured with the three individuals who were part of the rescue effort.

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