When his pager sounded an RNLI crewman forgot about his wedding

A volunteer crewman with the RNLI has recalled how he forgot about his wedding because he was so busy searching for a missing person. Dan Holland was called out during the night on the search, just hours before his wedding, and only managed to grab a little sleep before his big day. 

Now, Dan, 38, has thrown his backing behind the RNLI’s annual Mayday fundraising event and he urged the public to remember that the charity’s volunteer crews have to drop everything when their pager sounds. 

Dan joined the RNLI at Kessock nine years ago and in 2011 he married Erica at Cawdor Church, Cawdor, Nairn. The couple now have a two-year-old child, Malin, and live in Ullapool. He and his fellow crew members searched the River Ness for three-and-a-half-hours looking for a missing person until the early hours on 17 June, 2011. 

It was only when the crew had completed the search and Dan was back on dry land that someone reminded him he was due to get married later that day, so he better get back home to bed! Returning home as it was getting light, Dan went to bed and rose three hours later for his wedding. 

Dan said: ‘When the pager beeped, I didn’t think twice before dashing straight to the lifeboat station. Like all of the RNLI’s volunteer crew members, I know that when the pager beeps you have to stop whatever you’re doing to go and save lives at sea. 

‘While we were out searching for the missing person, the fact that I was getting married later that day didn’t even enter my head. In fact, it was only when we returned to the station and one of the guys reminded me that I was getting married in a few hours that I went home again to try and get some sleep!’ 

Every day is Mayday for the RNLI’s lifeboat crews, who are specially-trained volunteers, on-call 24/7 to save lives at sea. Whatever the weather, day or night, they are ready to drop everything and launch the lifeboats to rescue anyone in danger at sea around the coast. 

But, as a charity, the lifesaving service they provide is only possible thanks to the generous support of the public. Many of this year’s Mayday fundraising events in Scotland have a yellow welly theme in a nod to the yellow wellies – an iconic and essential piece of lifesaving kit worn by crews. 

The money raised could fund anything from crew training and lifeboats, to vital equipment like wellies and lifejackets. To donate, visit RNLI.org/MaydayWedding or text Mayday to 70300 to donate £3. To join in on social media, use the hashtag #MaydayEveryday

by Richard Smith

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