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Cardigan RNLI crew member receives Queens Commendation for Valuable Service

Lifeboats News Release

A Royal Navy sailor from Cardigan, Able Seaman Sarah Griffiths has received a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Services for her work in saving lives during search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea.

Leading Seaman Sarah Griffiths receiving the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service
Leading Seaman Sarah Griffiths receiving the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service

Sarah, who has been in the Royal Navy for the past eight years, joined HMS Enterprise during the ship’s on-going involvement in the UK’s contribution to the European Union’s mission in 2016 to disrupt and deter human trafficking in the Med.

During her deployment Sarah was involved in a dramatic rescue operation involving around 50 people.

Her citation read: “Sarah has shown significant courage and maturity as the coxswain of the small boat carried by HMS Enterprise during rescue events.

During arduous and occasionally harrowing operations, she spent up to 13 hours a day in the boat, with temperatures frequently exceeding 30 degrees centigrade.

During a short deployment in response to a sinking vessel, Sarah arrived at the scene well ahead of HMS Enterprise. Independently assessing the scene and establishing priorities, she manoeuvred to distribute lifesaving equipment to around 50 people in the water, picking up the most vulnerable.

That only one person lost their life is no small part down to her quick wits and focused professionalism. Her outstanding boat driving skills, focus and awareness has been vital in ensuring safe control of the situation and efficient transfer of survivors to HMS Enterprise.

Quick to volunteer and enthusiastic about mentoring others, she unfailingly set an excellent example and her exceptional performance in support of operations is thoroughly worthy of the highest recognition."

Sarah has since been promoted to Leading Seaman and is currently serving aboard Type-23 frigate HMS Montrose

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland