First shout for RNLI new recruit

Tobermory RNLI's newest crew member Bobby MacLeod Gunn, 18 and still at school, with father Station Mechanic Paul 'Gunny' Gunn Photograph: RNLI/DavidMcHaffie NO_T21_Toberrnli

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Tobermory RNLI’s newest crew member is keeping it in the family.

Aged just 18, Bobby MacLeod Gunn, who joined the volunteer crew following a long family tradition earlier this year, has just had his first shout.

Bobby’s great-grandfather Bobby MacLeod, the acclaimed accordionist, was on the crew in the 1940s and was instrumental in the reopening of the lifeboat station in 1990.

And his grandfather, Robert M. MacLeod was a mechanic on the Waveney class lifeboat when the station reopened and later became the honorary secretary – a job now known as lifeboat operations manager.

Bobby’s uncles Robert Norman MacLeod and Donald MacLeod also both served on the crew for many years, and his dad Paul ‘Gunny’ Gunn is the current station mechanic.

This month the volunteer crew responded to three shouts in 36 hours, including going to the aid of a woman on a yacht with a serious head injury and carrying out a search in rough weather off Tiree.

Bobby’s first shout on May 18 was to help a yacht with engine failure in the Sound of Mull. On their way to the yacht, the crew assisted the Tobermory Harbour Authority RIB which was dealing with another yacht that had broken its mooring in the strong south-easterly wind. The lifeboat quickly brought the yacht alongside the harbour pontoons before heading out to assist the yacht with engine failure.

Crew pagers had gone off 24 hours earlier after the UK Coastguard alerted them to a woman on a yacht with a serious head injury who needed casualty care before being transferred by the lifeboat to hospital in Oban.

Pagers sounded off yet again on May 18, just before 11pm, after a report of a flare being sighted in Gott Bay on Tiree. The  crew were tasked to carry out a search with the Coastguard and rescue helicopter from Prestwick. On arrival in Gott Bay after an 80 minute passage in rough weather with gale force winds and two-to-three-metre seas, the lifeboat was stood down because the helicopter’s search had revealed nothing untoward.

Tobermory RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Dr Sam Jones said: ‘This was a busy couple of days for our volunteers. The informant on Tiree did absolutely the right thing by calling the Coastguard. If you see anything which suggests that someone might be in trouble at sea, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’