London

London helmsman sets Royal National Lifeboat Institution record

Stan Todd Image copyright PA
Image caption Stan Todd has become the first RNLI crew member in London to have responded to more than 1,000 call-outs

A Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) crew member has become the first in London to have responded to more than 1,000 emergency call-outs.

Stan Todd is a full-time helmsman at London's Tower lifeboat station next to Waterloo Bridge.

He reached the milestone earlier this month after clocking up more than 34 years saving lives at sea and on the River Thames.

Mr Todd has rescued 295 people and saved 47 lives along the way.

'Adrenalin rush'

During that time, he has rescued people from sinking boats, plucked swimmers from the waters and found frightened children drifting miles out to sea in rubber dinghies.

Nicknamed Stormy Stan for his ability to helm a lifeboat in the fiercest of seas, Stan first joined Brighton RNLI aged 21 in 1980.

The 55-year-old from Patcham, East Sussex spent 21 years rescuing people off the south coast before being recruited to the newly-formed RNLI service on the River Thames in 2001.

"When the emergency bell goes there is still the adrenalin rush the pager used to give me 30 years ago," Mr Todd said.

"I like not knowing what is going to happen each day and that if someone out there needs me, I'll do everything I possibly can to be there for them."

In 1986, Mr Todd was presented with a bravery award for his part in rescuing three people whose yacht had been smashed to pieces against Brighton Harbour wall during Hurricane Charley.

After the RNLI lifeboat capsized three times, Mr Todd and fellow crewman Roger Cohen swam 200m through huge waves towing the yacht's life raft with its crew inside to safety.

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