Burnham-On-Sea RNLI lifeboat station has its flag at half-mast this week in memory of a crewmember at Weston who has sadly died.
Paul Giles, 46, was working on his yacht moorings on the River Axe, when he lost his life in a tragic accident involving his Land Rover.
He leaves behind his wife Ruth, and daughters Poppy and Holly, aged 14 and 10 respectively.
Paul, who was a carpenter, was best known for his role within Weston RNLI, which he joined as a member of the crew in 1993.
He served on the crew until 2000, and then as a helmsman until 2012. During that period, Weston’s station saved 97 lives, with Paul among the rescuers.
Paul rejoined the lifeboat team last year, serving on the management group responsible for authorising the lifeboat launches.
RNLI lifeboat operations manager Mike Buckland, who served with Paul for most of his service, said: “I am truly devastated at losing a friend, fellow lifeboatman and member of our station management team.”
“A man with such passion and commitment will be sadly missed by everyone at Weston lifeboat station. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ruth, Poppy, Holly and Paul’s wider family at this most difficult of times.”
Paul’s heroic actions include a rescue 20 years ago, in which the crew was called to a report of two nightclubbers who had gone for a swim by the Grand Pier. Although the coastguard advised they would have been pushed towards Sand Bay, Paul’s team used their local knowledge, and knew the casualties would have been swept towards Brean Down. Paul heard them shouting for help, and they were found just seconds from drowning.
A Weston RNLI spokesman said: “Those two men owe their lives to Paul’s hearing and his driving focus on locating them in the darkness before it was too late.”
Paul was a member of Weston Bay Yacht Club and had taken up sailing with his own boat.
The RNLI added: “It was while working on his yacht moorings on the bank of the River Axe a tragic, freak accident happened involving his Land Rover, resulting in him losing his life.”
“The tragedy of the loss of Paul Giles is a dreadful blow to his family and to the lifeboat crew and station he served so well. He will be sorely missed.”
“Paul was a truly dedicated family man and despite being extremely hard working at his job and fully committed to the RNLI, his family always came first.”
Hi funeral will be held on July 19 at 3.30pm, at Christ Church in Montpelier. Family flowers only are sought but donations can be made to Weston RNLI, via Groves Funeral Directors, in Worle High Street.
Burnham RNLI said: “We extend our condolences to Paul’s family and colleagues. The RNLI is a family, and any loss becomes personal.”