2020 Winner

jamie newlands


Coastguard volunteer who climbed down a cliff in storm force winds to save a stranded teenager in a race against rising tide.

Two teenagers had got into difficulty after climbing down a 130ft cliff to the sea in Fethaland on the north tip of Shetland. While one of the young men had managed to climb back up, the other was stuck at the bottom.

By the time Coastguard were called in, he had already been there for two hours. It was dark, the tide was rising and the weather was deteriorating.

A rescue helicopter was first to arrive but could not fly close enough to the cliff face in turbulent conditions to attempt a rescue. The helicopter and the Aith Lifeboat then used searchlights to illuminate the scene, so that a rope rescue team could set up their equipment.

Rope technician Jamie Newlands, 37, a volunteer on his first major rescue operation, descended the cliff in storm force winds, rain and heavy squalls to pull the teenager to safety from the incoming tide, taking him back to the top where he could be winched aboard the helicopter and taken to hospital where he recovered fully from hypothermia.