A busy year for Whitby RNLI ended with a rather unusual rescue, saving Santa at sea!
The recovery of Father Christmas formed part of a popular festive production, marking the end of a year that saw frequent callouts, including six in just one weekend!
The fun film, produced by press officer Ceri Oakes, has been viewed almost 30,000 times online, with people praising the feature for its comedy value.
RNLI Station Mechanic Richard Dowson who played Mrs Claus said: “The video is a bit of fun to try and spread a bit of festive cheer and laughter at Christmas. We have a lot of supporters on Facebook and Twitter so we like to give something back to them. Although it is very light-hearted there a few important safety messages in the video. Luckily Santa was wearing a life jacket while flying his sleigh over the harbour!”
One of the crew’s wives came up with the idea of making a festive version of Saving Lives at Sea, the BBC’s RNLI documentary which featured the Whitby crew. So the team set about filming a rescue of Santa on Christmas Eve. A spokesman for the RNLI said: “It’s finally here! The much anticipated Whitby RNLI Christmas Special - Saving Santa at Sea.
“Thank you to all of our followers, fundraisers and friends for your support throughout the year. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year from all of us here in Whitby.”
Comments from delighted viewers include: Kathryn Moore: “Absolutely brilliant! Merry Christmas from all at Blyth RNLI.”
Former coxswain, Mike Russell: “Well done lads and lasses. Brilliant as always. Merry Christmas to you all.”
Carol Frampton: “Thank you for saving Santa, great job as always.”
Helen Jayne Brown: “Merry Christmas Whitby RNLI. You do an amazing job and brill Christmas videos too.”
It has been a busy year for the RNLI, with one weekend in May seeing a record six callouts in just three days, including a boat sinking in the harbour.
The charity also welcomed a new coxswain, Howard Fields, after the retiring leader, Mike Russell stepped down in August following a remarkable 30 years service.
The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea, and is hugely reliant on funding generated by the public. As much as 95% of the RNLI’s total income comes from generous donations and legacies. Whitby RNLI Coxswain Howard Fields added: “We’d like to remind people visiting the coast to stay safe, check the tide times before you visit the beach, and if you or someone else gets into difficulty call 999 and ask for the coastguard. We would like to wish all of our supporters, followers and fundraisers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
To watch it, visit the Whitby Gazette Facebook page, search for @GazetteinWhitby.