A Christmas crisis was narrowly avoided tonight when Santa crashed into the sea near the Copeland islands.
His emergency ‘Sleigh Day’ call was picked up by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution crew in Donaghadee who quickly launched their lifeboat Saxon and came to his rescue.
Coxswain Phillip McNamara said: “It is one of the more unusual call-outs our volunteers have undertaken this year but I am happy to report that Rudolph and the reindeers are grazing happily on the Copeland Islands and Santa was brought safely into harbour by our volunteers about 7.00pm.
“He was a little damp and tired but still very jolly and is resting up at the Lifeboat Station before setting off again in good time to deliver all our presents on Christmas Eve.”
The dramatic rescue is recorded in a new children’s book which goes on sale today. All profits will support the RNLI’s lifesaving work.
Stephen McComiskey, a crew member at Donaghadee, took part in the rescue. He said: “This Christmas, volunteer crews at Donaghadee and Bangor will be on call, ready to drop their turkey and mince pies and go to sea to save lives.
“Ireland’s RNLI crews launched 16 times during the holiday period last year.The Bangor lifeboat launched twice on Christmas Day bringing one person to safety.
“Our book The Big Christmas Rescue can be personalised so your child is the star of the story. It is a lovely present and will make an ideal gift for young children.”
The bookis set on a wet and windy night when all good children are tucked up in bed. When Santa crashes his sleigh in the sea, volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew members rush to the rescue – with the help of a very special child.
This personalised tale of Christmas courage gives children a magical introduction to the work of the RNLI’s volunteer lifesavers while raising vital funds for the charity. The story is written by Rory Stamp and the book is beautifully illustrated by the award-winning Hannah Cumming.
It is priced at £9.95 and is available to order online at RNLISHOP.org/BigRescue. The last order date for The Big Christmas Rescue to guarantee delivery before Christmas is Monday 15 December 2014.