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Man saved by RNLI calls for more support for the charity

A man dramatically rescued by RNLI volunteers at Porthcawl is calling for the people of Wales to support the charity's national fundraising event.

Mike Dooley was rescued by RNLI volunteers off Porthcawl in December. Credit: RNLI

Mike Dooley, a 41-year-old musician and music teacher from Caerphilly, was swept into the sea by a huge wave whilst fishing in December last year.

Other fisherman raised the alarm and tried to help him as he drifted further out to sea.

I saw it coming over and before I had time to react I was knocked flat on the ground. My hands were out and I was being dragged across the concrete of the pier and then suddenly I felt nothing beneath me and I just dropped over the edge.

I was only in the water for a few minutes but already the pier looked small and a long way away. It was terrifying and I was starting to wonder if I could survive this. I was trying not to take on any water but I could feel it in my lungs.

– Mike Dooley
Mike was helped onto the lifeboat by RNLI volunteer Simon Emms. Credit: RNLI

Porthcawl's Atlantic 85 lifeboat was launched and the volunteer crew found Mike a quarter of a mile out to sea face up in the water.

It was only 10 minutes from the moment the alarm was raised to the lifeboat reaching Mike. RNLI volunteer Simon Emms jumped into the water and pulled him aboard the lifeboat.

When we reached Mike, he was in pretty precarious situation, the sea was terribly cold and he was unable to stay afloat for much longer. His hands were badly grazed from where he had been desperately trying to cling to the pier. It could have been a very different Christmas for Mike's family had the alarm not been raised in time. We're just thankful we reached him when we did and are delighted to be meeting him again. It makes what we do worthwhile.

– Simon Emms, RNLI volunteer

Luckily, Mike made a full recovery after being take to hospital and was able to play a gig with his string quartet only a few days later.

He says he's "eternally thankful" for the help he received that day and now wants to support the RNLI Mayday campaign which looks to raise money for the charity.

When I heard about the RNLI's Mayday campaign I wanted to do what we could to help and raise awareness of the amazing job these volunteers do. I will be eternally thankful to them. They are heroes who put themselves in dangerous situations to help others. I owe my life to them and I can't say anything more than that.

– Mike Dooley
Mike Dooley with one of his rescuers, Simon Emms Credit: Nigel Millard

You can find out more about the RNLI's Mayday campaign by clicking here.