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Wales Online
Wales Online
Branwen Jones

RNLI volunteers leave wedding after receiving emergency call

Five wedding guests had to leave a wedding early as they were called out to an emergency rescue. The Porthcawl RNLI crew were attending the wedding ceremony of fellow volunteer Reverend Mark Broadway and his now-wife Jessie Broadway when they were called out to rescue two people who were cut off by an incoming tide.

It came after the vicar at the start of the ceremony advised guests to "switch off your phones unless you're lifeboat crew and might get a shout". But 17 minutes later five guests of the wedding were called away.

The lifeboat volunteers left All Saint's Church in Porthcawl and arrived at the nearby lifeboat station where they quickly changed from their suits for dry suits before launching their boat to sea. They were first on the scene at Dunraven Bay and luckily the couple cut off by the tide were rescued using a Coastguard helicopter, which had located a rock slab nearby.

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It took the two people and the crew members onboard before dropping them off in a field above a cliff top. Eventually the crew made it back to the wedding just as the ceremony was ending to congratulate the newlyweds.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast on Wednesday morning Mark and Jessie, who were on their honeymoon, were joined by the RNLI team to talk about their memorable day. When asked how aware they were of what was going on Jessie said: "Absolutely not at all. Everyone left so quietly and discreetly – we didn’t have a clue until after the ceremony. People were running up to us and going: ‘Oh my gosh – they all sort of got up and left’." When asked if she was annoyed at all that they had left she said: "No, not at all. In many ways it’s part of life."

Her husband Mark added: “It can go off at any given moment and does. So this is just so typical of what we would expect." The couple also explained that they had a boat-themed wedding. When asked what the day had been like Jessie said: "It was a really lovely day. Because Mark is one of the volunteers with the lifeboat we always knew that the RNLI was going to be a part of the wedding.

"So we asked people to give donations to the RNLI as part of our gift list really. So it was always going to be a theme of the wedding.” Mark added: “A few of the lifeboat chaps were a part of the wedding – helpful people to have around. And so, yes, a lot of lifeboats were outside the church".

The happy couple, Jessie and Mark Broadway, were in the process of saying 'I do' when five wedding guests had to leave their wedding (BBC)

Fellow volunteers Ken York, Luke Anderson, and the rest of the team also shared their thoughts on the day during the interview. When asked what he thought when he realised the pager was making a noise and he would have to leave the ceremony early Ken said: "I felt the pager vibrate in my pocket and it only goes off for one or two reasons… I reached into my pocket and got the pager. It was a tasking request and at that point I saw a couple of the crew members around the church fumbling in their pockets as well and looking at their pagers.

"Then, suddenly and instinctively, we all started to get up at the same time. I looked at my partner and said: ‘I’ve got to go’ and she looked back and said: ‘You’re kidding!’. At that point we discreetly left as quietly and as quickly as we could.”

Luke added: “There were a few looks of confusion. But as people kept disappearing from different parts of the church I think people realised pretty quickly what was going on." After the emergency call the crew were able to return to the wedding a bit later on. Mark said: “That was the main bit – we managed to have a bit of fun together afterwards."

Jessie told the show: “I heard the siren – I was at the back, we were having cake and stuff at the back of the church, and I heard this siren go. And I thought: 'No it can’t be.' I sort of hitched up my dress and ran out to the front and there they were all looking a little bit windswept and a bit damp from being on the sea and the boat was there as well, which was such a lovely moment. Mark added: “It was so good to be able to congratulate them on a successful shout and great to see them after they had done what they do so well.”


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