Hero award for Happisburgh lifeboat - as figures reveal increase in calls to north Norfolk crews

Happisburgh crew Will Baker, Sean Ferguson and Jake Munday with Quila, and fellow four legged friend

Happisburgh crew Will Baker, Sean Ferguson and Jake Munday with Quila, and fellow four legged friend Sunni looking on. - Credit: Archant

A lifeboat crew has received a hero award after saving the life of a distressed dog that was swept out to sea just before Christmas.

The accolade for the Happisburgh crew comes as figures reveal RNLI teams from across north Norfolk saw an increase in call outs last year.

RNLI teams at Sheringham, Cromer and Happisburgh had a total of 39 launches between them in 2013, resulting in 53 rescues, compared to 34 launches and 13 rescues in 2012.

Among Happisburgh's rescues was a call during a training exercise, when they were scrambled into action to help look for a Labrador that had been swept out by the tide at Sea Palling.

The crew found eight-year-old pooch Quila cowering on a reef and after bringing her back to safety she was reunited with her delighted owners.

Dog rescued by Happisburgh lifeboat crewAnd their efforts to help the four legged friend have now earned them a Hero to Animals award from PETA.

The animal rights campaign group praised the crew's skills and devotion to duty.

Mimi Bekhechi, PETA associate director, said: 'By remaining calm and determined, the lifeboat crew saved the life of a terrified animal who may have been within minutes of drowning.

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'Happisburgh and the surrounding communities are fortunate to have public servants who are willing to put their own safety on the line to protect all residents, whether on two legs or four.'

THE RNLI's beach lifeguards were also kept busy throughout summer 2013, with the team in Cromer carrying out one of the region's most notable rescues after saving the life of a boy who was caught in a rip current.

Lifeguard Adam Brayne rescued the eight-year-old after he got caught in the sudden rip on Cromer's east beach in August. The rescue was caught on camera, which can be seen in the video above.

In total, lifeguards in Norfolk and Suffolk went to the aid of 938 beachgoers.

Peter Dawes, regional operations manager for the RNLI, said it had been a busy year for the charity.

'As long as people are in distress, the RNLI will be there to help. We provide a ring of safety from the beach right out to the open seas.

'But the first class training and the equipment needed to do the job cost money, and we are very fortunate to have such a dedicated support network among the general public. As a charity, the RNLI simply could not continue helping those in distress and saving lives without that support.'