'RNLI has been in my family since before I was born'

image copyrightRNLI/Yvette Kershaw
image captionJohnny Grant with his father Doug

The grandson of one of the RNLI's most decorated lifesavers has become the fourth generation of his family to join a volunteer lifeboat crew.

Johnny Grant has joined Wick lifeboat station in Caithness as its mechanic coxswain.

He follows his father Doug, grandfather Mike Grant and late great-grandfather Jack Grant in joining in the RNLI.

Mike was awarded for gallantry for his part in the rescue of a cargo ship crew in 1979 and a yacht's crew in 1984.

Jack was also recognised for his bravery, taking part in the rescue of sailors from three yachts in 1956.

image copyrightRNLI
image captionDoug with his father Mike who was awarded twice for his gallantry in rescues with Selsey lifeboat station

Johnny, whose dad is a volunteer with Kessock lifeboat station on the Black Isle in the Highlands, said it was an honour to continue his family's tradition.

"The RNLI has been in my family since before I was born, and I've got so many great memories of being around the station and the crew at Kessock, and of dad rushing off to rescues from so many family events," he said.

"It's been a massive part of my life and I really wanted to give something back to the RNLI and the community which has looked after my family for years. It's also a good feeling knowing I am making my own family proud."

Rolling violently

Doug started in the RNLI 35 years ago at Selsey in West Sussex where his father Mike and grandfather Jack had also served.

Mike received the RNLI's Silver Medals for Gallantry twice.

The first was awarded in 1979 for his part in the rescue of the 20-member crew from a cargo ship while the vessel was listing and rolling violently.

He was recognised for his gallantry again in 1984 for the rescue of a crew of six from a yacht.

image copyrightRNLI
image captionJohnny's great-grandfather Jack in 1956

Jack was awarded his Silver Medal in 1956 for the rescue of 18 people from three stricken yachts.

Doug, who joined the RNLI when he was 17 and served with his father, said: "I'm delighted that my son Johnny has continued the family RNLI tradition.

"The RNLI family has always been so supportive of me and mine and it makes me very proud that Johnny now has his own career to follow in service."

'Stand tall'

He added: "I'll never forget the first time I was taken on a dramatic shout in wild weather, and admit it was quite daunting for a young lad.

"The sense of confidence I felt by having my own father on the boat helped me to stand tall and do what I had been trained to do.

"We were 26 miles out at sea for seven hours with force 7 gales in the pitch black. We successfully rescued the crew and the vessel and after that day there was no shout deemed too big for me to hold my own on."