Rescued diver calls for a St Abbs lifeboat

07/09/15. TSPL Shift.  Campaign to save the RNLI Lifeboat station at St Abbs in Berwickshire. The St Abbs Lifeboat Station is to close tomorrow. Lifeboat crew members picture here  Andrew Redden, (left) and Ian Wightman, Picture Ian Rutherford.
07/09/15. TSPL Shift. Campaign to save the RNLI Lifeboat station at St Abbs in Berwickshire. The St Abbs Lifeboat Station is to close tomorrow. Lifeboat crew members picture here Andrew Redden, (left) and Ian Wightman, Picture Ian Rutherford.

One of the last people rescued by the St Abbs lifeboat crew before its closure by the RNLI is supporting the campaign for an independent lifeboat.

Marion McFarlane, from Fife, was rescued while diving off the Berwickshire coast earlier this year.

And she says that she wouldn’t be alive now if it weren’t for a lifeboat in the area.

At the end of May she was diving with friends at the Cathedral Rock, close to the St Abbs harbour, when she found herself without oxygen due to an equipment failure.

“I realised my air had stopped,” she said. “I thought the only thing I could do was to go up and then once I reached the surface...nothing.

“I really did feel myself swallowing water and I just thought that was it, really.”

The St Abbs volunteers, though, then still working under the RNLI, reached Marion in under four minutes.

Paul Crowe, former coxswain, remembered the rescue: “My son and his friends were playing at the back of the harbour and they raised the alarm. They came round and got us, or me anyway, and I started to get kitted up and we were in the water and round there within four minutes, or back in the harbour within four minutes from start to finish, it all just happens in a flash.”

Marion was unconscious when she was brought out of the water.

Former crew member, Ian Wightman admitted: “When I first saw her I thought it definitely doesn’t look too good but it was really reassuring when you saw her splutter and she became responsive.

“At that point we thought this could have a happy ending after all.”

Marion was given oxygen and the crew helped to stabilise her before she was flown to hospital in Aberdeen, where she spent the next four days, followed by a month off work.

She has recently returned to St. Abbs to thank the people who rescued her.

She says that after what happened to her she is convinced there is a need for a lifeboat in the village.

“I would have died. When I was on the rocks my buddy was incredibly sure that I was not going to make it. I’ll do everything I can to support them.”

Following a coastal review, the RNLI decided to remove its lifeboat from St Abbs, instead relying on cover from the Dunbar station to the north and the Eyemouth station to the south.

The fundraising campaign for an independent lifeboat to replace it has already raised more than £20,000.

The initial aim is to raise £250,000.

To find out more or to make a donation, visit the Support St Abbs Lifeboat website at http://www.stabbslifeboat.org.uk/.

Or alternatively, those interested can visit the group’s dedicated fundraising page at http://www.stabbslifeboat.org.uk/.