How a legacy saved Matt’s life

This content is sponsored by RNLI

This content is sponsored by RNLI

Lifeboat Crew Member Matt Church thinks about the people who funded the kit and training that saved him from drowning

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Lifeboat Crew Member Matt Church doesn’t know the people who saved him from drowning. But he thinks about them – because they paid for the kit and training he relied on, quite possibly with a gift in their Will.

‘The pager went off in the middle of the night,’ remembers Matt. ‘We were up, out of our houses and launching into darkness. A fishing boat was taking on water. I clipped my radio to my lifejacket and managed to leap across onto the boat. The skipper was on deck. His friend was in the cabin with water round his ankles.

‘As the lifeboat started towing the boat to shore, everything changed. Within 30 seconds, the man in the cabin had water up to his knees. I got him out. Within 90 seconds, the water had filled the cabin to the roof and was on the deck too. I radioed we needed to get off right now.

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‘Then the boat flipped vertically and went down stern-first. Like in a movie. I ended up in the dark sea with a man under each arm. The skipper couldn’t inflate his lifejacket. The other man couldn’t do his up. And they were clambering on me, two men, pushing my face under the water. My lifejacket was their only buoyancy.

‘Our lifeboat was struggling to cut the sunk fishing boat free. It was my RNLI radio that enabled another crew to find us in the night. It was my lifejacket that kept me afloat. And it was the training, that I and the crew received, that saved me.

‘When I got home about 5am, my pregnant wife asked sleepily: “Everything OK?” I didn’t want her going into early labour so I just said: “Yes.” I haven’t got words to express how grateful I am to the people who paid for my training and the kit that saved me and got me home to her.’

Gifts in Wills pay for much of the training, kit and equipment for RNLI volunteers. And just as our crews are made up of ordinary people like Matt, so are the people who decide to put a gift in their Will to the RNLI. Small or large, every gift makes a real difference to our lifesavers.

Find out how to write or update your Will, or request our free Gifts in Wills guide here or call us on 0300 300 0124.

This content is sponsored by RNLI

Last modified: June 10, 2021

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