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Geoff deserves bravery award

11:00 24 December 2012

Geoff Ingram.

Geoff Ingram.

Archant

The Journal is backing the call for a posthumous bravery award for Exmouth skipper Geoff Ingram, who sacrificed his life to save his crew.

The call is out for Exmouth fisherman Geoff Ingram to receive a posthumous award for bravery.

Geoff, 51, died in September when he selflessly sacrificed his own life to save his two crewmen when his fishing vessel, Sarah Jayne, sank two-and-half miles off Berry Head.

Exmouth’s mayor, councillor John Humphreys, is leading the way – backed by the Journal – to see dad-of-two Geoff’s bravery recognised.

Councillor Humphreys praised married Geoff for putting the safety of his crew before his own, saying it deserved honouring.

Cllr Humphreys said: “We are coming up to a time of year when we are celebrating Christmas and we are also celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, who gave his life for all of us.

“It was a fantastically brave act that Geoff gave his life for a couple of other human beings.”

Retired Exmouth RNLI coxswains, Brian Rowsell and Keith Graham, both support the appeal for an award.

They said it was ‘second nature’ for Geoff to think of others before himself.

As an RNLI crewman, Geoff put his life on the line back in 1985 when he saved the lives of two young girls off Exmouth, jumping from the lifeboat into eight-foot high waves amid force seven winds to save the drowning pair.

Mr Rowsell, coxswain when Geoff joined the crew, said: “I knew he would do that. He was that sort of bloke. He was little in stature, good in heart. He was a lovely lad.”

Mr Graham, who joined Exmouth RNLI at the same time as Geoff and witnessed him jump into high seas back in 1985, said: “He saved his boys - his two crew - it was a selfless act.

“He would have been devastated if he lost one of his crew. Geoff was very unassuming. He would have been embarrassed about an award, but would have enjoyed it.

“He didn’t do anything for medals. What he did that day was second nature. He was thinking about his crew.

“Even on the lifeboat he didn’t think twice when he jumped over the side for the girl that was going under the water.”

Geoff was hailed a hero by Exmouth after it was revealed the gallant skipper ordered crewmen Matthew Bull and ‘Spud’ Chamberlain off the stricken vessel to safety, then went down with his boat when he returned to the wheelhouse to raise the alarm.

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