Seafaring hero receives top commendation from HM Coastguard

Sandy and Andrew are pictured with Alex Smith, maritime operations controller who presented the award on behalf of the Chief Coastguard Keith Oliver.
Sandy and Andrew are pictured with Alex Smith, maritime operations controller who presented the award on behalf of the Chief Coastguard Keith Oliver.

A pupil at an East Ren school who saved his grandad’s life after he fell out of their boat while sailing has been given a prestigious award

Andrew Paton (13) was with granddad Sandy Malcolm in their speedboat on Loch Fyne when they were hit by a large wave.

Now Andrew has been presented with The Chief Coatguard’s Commendation for his bravery on that day.

Sandy, who is 82, fell overboard into the cold waters of the loch and drifted away.

Andrew, who attends Eastwood High School, then sprang into action, throwing Sandy a rope, hauling him to the side of the boat and tying him on to it, and stopping the boat’s engine.

He then dialled 999 to raise the alarm.

The Coastguard put out an emergency relay and other boats in the area made their way to Sandy and Andrew, where Sandy was helped back on board the boat by fellow sailors.

Tarbert Coastguard Rescue Team and an RAF rescue helicopter were dispatched to the scene and Sandy was airlifted to Lochgilphead Community Hospital where he was kept in overnight.

Sandy said, ‘When I saw Andrew in the boat coming towards me, I had every confidence that things would turn out all right.’

Andrew said he was very excited about receiving the award, and, that on the day in question he had reacted as he had been taught to do, turning the boat and throwing a line.”