Timothy Spall & Penlee crew 2009 (Credit RNLI)
Author: Amy Ross, Divisional Media Relations Manager
Sheerness inshore lifeboat yesterday evening went out to help Timothy Spall who was filming the last episode for his BBC4 programme – “Timothy Spall: Back at Sea.”
Timothy Spall was on a 55-foot Dutch barge with four others on board, en route to Chatham Marina. He had lost his way and called up on the radio, as he could not work out how to get further up the Medway and was instead heading back towards Sheerness and the Thames Estuary.
The D class lifeboat at Sheerness was launched at around 9.30pm. The crew – Andy Mathews, Nicki Wood and Arthur Ormesher, Dale Finnigan were undergoing some shore-based training in the boathouse, and had heard the discussions between the barge and the Coastguard after monitoring the VHF radio. The RNLI’s Deputy Launch Authority authorised the launch.
RNLI crew member Andy Matthews said: ‘There is lots of mud round there and you need to know where you are otherwise you can end up aground. He was right to call us. We’d rather he call us beforehand, than later maybe when things could have got much worse. Mr Spall was very grateful for the RNLI’s assistance.’
The crew on the barge were located approximately two miles from the station at the entrance to Stangate Creek. The lifeboat crew went up to check on him and put crew member Nicki Wood on board. They then escorted the boat back into a safe mooring at Queenborough Harbour and helped Mr Spall get his boat alongside into a berth. He was safely moored up so that he could continue his journey today in the daylight.
The lifeboat crew then returned to Sheerness station and the boat was made ready for service by 11.30pm.