Mum walking for RNLI in memory of son Sam Capper, 15, who drowned in 'freak wave' tragedy

Mum Leah Hunt speaks to ITV News Granada about her fundraising effort in memory of son, Sam Capper.

A mum from Wirral is taking on a fundraising challenge in memory of her son who died after falling into the sea off the south Wales coast.

Leah Hunt is training for an emotional 12 mile coastal walk for the RNLI, 10 years after its crews came to the aid of her sons Sam and Lewis in the sea off south Wales.

Sam Capper, 15, was swept into the sea off rocks in Llangenith where he was fishing with his 21-year old brother Lewis.

Lewis desperately tried to save his brother, but had to be rescued by a lifeboat crew.

Sam was airlifted to hospital, where he later died.

The pair's mum, Leah Hunt, recalled: "A freak wave took Sam off the rocks. Lewis followed and they trod water for about 30 minutes.

Sam Capper

"The Sea King helicopter winched Sam and took him straight to hospital. The RNLI took Lewis out of the water and unfortunately Sam just wasn't strong enough."

Since Sam's death, Leah has raised almost £21,000 for the RNLI. She hopes to reach a total of 25 thousand pounds this year, to mark what would have been Sam's 25th birthday.

The RNLI is funded by donations and staffed by volunteers. With demand for its lifesaving services at a high and the continued popularity of staycations, the charity is urging the public to take part in the Mayday Mile, to raise essential funds to provide vital training and equipment to keep its lifesavers safe, while they risk their lives to save others.

The latest figures released by the RNLI have revealed the number of lives saved by its crews in Cumbria, Lancashire and the Wirral has increased by nearly 30%.

In 2021 lifeboat crews from West Kirby to Silloth saved the lives of 22 people, compared with 17 the previous year. In the North West, the number of people aided by RNLI crews last year was 230.

Andrew Brown, from the RNLI West Kirby, said: "With the higher footfall, what we've seen is more need for the RNLI's services from lifeguarding to lifeboating.

"We've saved an increase of 30 per cent more lives. It's great that we were there for them but part of our role is to make sure we can prevent that needing to be done in the first place."   

Leah's coastal walk is part of the RNLI's Mayday Mile campaign, in which people are invited to walk, jog, hop or skip at least one mile between Saturday 1st and Tuesday 31st May, whilst raising vital funds for RNLI lifesavers so that they can continue to keep people safe at sea.

RNLI lifeboat at West Kirby Credit: ITV

Leah will take part in the Wirral Coastal Walk on 22 May along with Lewis' three children Archie, Kael and Neala.

All will be wearing yellow wellies as a tribute to RNLI crews. Leah is encouraging people to join them on the walk of four, eight or 12 miles along the Wirral Coastal path from New Brighton to Thurstaston.

Leah said: "Although the tragedy of losing Sam will never go away, they gave me back my son Lewis and I will be forever in their debt for that.

"I'm really looking forward to walking the Wirral Coastal Path for Mayday and will be chatting with my grandchildren about the uncle they never got to meet."

Anyone wishing to take part in the Wirral Coastal Walk on 22 May can join the RNLI team here.

The Mayday Mile will be running from Saturday 1 May to Tuesday 31 May. Sign up and find out more here.