A STAITHES parish councillor and harbour master saved the day when a charity jet ski team, including an ITV newsreader, got into difficulty in heavy seas on 20 August.
The sponsored jet ski ride from Hartlepool to Whitby was being undertaken by a team including 15-year-old Matthew Garner, who suffers from cerebral palsy, and ITV News’ Pam Royle.
Matthew, from Billingham, took part in the trip to raise funds for Heel and Toe, a centre providing therapy for children in the north-east, which he attends twice a week.
Newsreader Pam said: “We left Hartlepool at 8.30am, the sea was quite calm on the way to Whitby and the view of the coastline from the sea was wonderful.
“It was possibly the most enjoyable ski ever for me.
“The journey back was not without incident though.”
With seas becoming increasingly rough, Matthew and his mother, who had been following in a support boat, decided to stay on land and drive back to Hartlepool, but the rest of the team took to the seas once more for the return leg.
Pam, whose son also took part in the ride, added: “We skiers left Whitby at around 10.45am.
“By now the sea had livened up considerably and as we were approaching Staithes the oil warning light on my son’s jet ski beamed at him threateningly.
“We had topped everything up before the ride so we thought this rather strange.
“We checked under the bonnet - not the easiest thing to do in choppy seas - and sure enough there was plenty, but the jet ski wasn’t happy and kept going into limp home mode - two miles per hour max.”
It was at this point that Staithes parish councillor and harbour master Norman Fowler was able to come to the rescue with an injection of two stroke oil.
“Without Norman I’m not sure what we would have done”, said Pam.
“Towing wasn’t really an option as the sea was too rough.
“So it’s thanks to Norman we were able to complete our challenge.
“We arrived back to Tees and Hartlepool yacht club at about 1.15pm, a bit bedraggled but delighted we’d made it.”