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Rescued couple show gratitude

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: October 04, 2012

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CRASHING waves and unforgiving rocks will be forever etched into the memories of Richard Ridout and Sarah Galliford.

After a dramatic rescue by the Exmouth branch of the RNLI, the couple from Ebford felt the need to give something back to the charity and have now raised over £1,500.

On a sailing trip from Dartmouth to Exmouth their boat's engine stopped. Sarah said: "We decided to sail up the river as the wind had been strong all day but then it dropped."

The couple were dragged by the strong current into the nearby rocks.

"The water was swirling around us like a washing machine, we were left bouncing around on the rocks," recalled Sarah.

Onlookers called the RNLI and they quickly responded in the smaller of their two boats.

Sarah said: "We had seen them near the estuary earlier in the day. They took me to shore while Richard stayed with the boat."

The larger of the RNLI's lifeboats then came to tow the 34 ft yacht to safety.

Sarah said: "The whole rescue must have taken just over an hour, it's so nice to know the RNLI are there to call upon."

The rescue took place in June and the couple decided to throw an auction at their home, complete with cocktails and canapes, in aid of the charity.

They approached businesses for donations and received gifts from Topsham wines, Ruffle's hairdressers, Edge Watersports, Darts Farm and many more, as well as offers of gardening lessons and Pilates classes from friends. They even offered up a champagne cruise along the river Exe on their yacht, Whimsical.

Sarah said: "The boat needed quite a lot of work done but I would never be put off from sailing because I love it. You know that you always have someone to call if you get into trouble."

The auction was held by quiz master Nick McGuire and over 65 guests attended the event helping the pair to raise an impressive £1,556.

Sarah said: "It was a surprise and really lovely to see how much support there is out there. We never expected to raise so much. We would like to thank the generosity of our guests, I think they all enjoyed themselves."

Emma Tarling of the RNLI said: "The couple were invited to the launch of the RNLI legacy week at Exmouth lifeboat station."

They met the volunteers who run the Exmouth RNLI and spoke about their experience. Emma said: "The cheque presentation followed a 'thank you' cream tea supplied by the chair of fundraising, Don Hodgkinson."

To find out more information about Exmouth RNLI visit www.exmouth-lifeboat.org.uk or to donate visit www.rnli.org.

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