Peterhead Lifeboat hero Stephen receives coveted Vellum Award

Royal Humane Society reward for crewman's part in fisherman's rescue
Aerial shot of Peterhead Harbour
Mizpah, the trawler involved
Stephen Ritchie

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Rescue of a fisherman from the Harbour

PETERHEAD lifeboat volunteer Stephen Ritchie has been awarded a Testimonial on Vellum from the Royal Humane Society for his part in the rescue of a fisherman from the town's harbour earlier this year. Nineteen-years-old Stephen, a probationer aboard the Babs & Agnes Robertson, dived into the south harbour in icy conditions in January, after hearing a splash as two fishermen fell into the harbour while returning to their trawler. Stephen, who only joined the RNLI in August last year, had been driving past the harbour in his car when he heard the splash and immediately went to the aid of the men. The apprentice mechanical technician told the Buchanie: "I had been decorating my room and had decided to go out for a run in the car when I heard a splash and saw the men in the harbour. "I think I was just going on adrenaline from that point as I dived into the harbour and managed to get one of the men. "I put him over my shoulder and took him up the ladder and literally threw him onto the pier before diving back in again to get the other guy." Unfortunately, Stephen couldn't find the second man, despite valiant attempts to locate him." The ironic thing is this was my first 'shout' and I wasn't even aboard the boat at the time," he said. "I don't regard myself as a hero - not in the slightest. I'm sure anyone would have done the same had they been in my position. I think adrenaline kept me going because it all happened so quickly. I just remember that it was absolutely freezing. It's certainly been an experience and I'm only sorry I wasn't able to help the other guy," he said. Peterhead lifeboat operations manager James Clubb said he was delighted that Stephen had received the honour. "It's fantastic news, not just for Stephen but for everyone at Peterhead Lifeboat Station," he said. "It's good to see such a young lad receive this honour and it can only be encouraging for other young folk who are perhaps thinking of joining the crew. "Stephen's dedication to the lifeboat and his selfless act of bravery on that cold January night is more than deserving of the award," he added. Stephen has already become quite a hero in the Blue Toon and was recently a finalist in the Daily Record 'Heroes' awards. The Royal Humane Society was founded in 1744 and is the UK's leading charity for giving awards for bravery in the saving of human life. An award-winner must have put their own life at risk to save - or attempt to save - someone else. The rescue does not have to be successful, but most are. Awards are made throughout the year at six to eight weekly intervals when the trustees of the society - 15 in total - meet to evaluate the nominations. There is no upper limit on how many awards may be given. A British citizen must be directly involved in the rescue, either as the rescuer or the person rescued although the incident itself can take place in any part of the world.

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