Award for lifeboatman who saved eight people

The Princess Royal pins a Silver Medal for Gallantry on Patch Harvey
The Princess Royal pins a Silver Medal for Gallantry on Patch Harvey [PA Media]

A lifeboatman from Cornwall has been given a bravery award after saving the lives of eight people stranded on a French yacht.

Coxswain Patch Harvey and his crew of six were called into action on the evening of 31 October 2022.

Mr Harvey said their lifeboat was launched from RNLI Penlee to aid a 40ft sailing yacht that was stranded two miles off Porthleven in "hurricane conditions".

He was awarded a Silver Medal for Gallantry by the Princess Royal at a Buckingham Palace garden party.

Large waves

Mr Harvey said receiving the award was an "honour and a privilege".

Speaking about the rescue, he said: "Their sales were blown out and the engine wasn't working.

"If we hadn’t got there, the boat would have smashed into rocks and we would have lost all eight people.

"I’ve been in the RNLI for 32 years and I’d never experienced conditions like that before."

He said the crew battled through winds of up to 87 knots, waves of six to seven metres (19.7-23ft) and poor visibility to rescue the stranded crew.

His crew were also awarded Silver Medal Service Certificates for their courage.

The garden party, to celebrate the RNLI’s 200th anniversary, was attended by about 2,500 long-serving members of the charity, staff and their families.

On his meeting with Princess Anne, Mr Harvey said: "She asked questions about what we were called out to do, she was interested in what we did."

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