Two teenage sisters have been awarded top national life-saving honours, one of them by Royal approval, for saving a man and his young son from drowning in the sea off Fraserburgh beach in August.
Isla Noble, 15, of Fraserburgh is to receive a Royal Humane Society Testimonial on Vellum which has been personally approved and will be signed by Princess Alexandra, President of the Society for her role in the life-and-death battle.
Her sister, Eilidh, 14, along with Keith Gray, who assisted in the rescue, has been awarded a Testimonial on Parchment by the Society. And off duty nurse, Sophie Ross, who was walking her dogs on the beach when the drama took place is to receive a Certificate of Commendation from the Society for providing first aid for the man and his son once they were back on the beach.
The incident happened on the afternoon of August 26. The girls were on the beach when they saw the man out in the sea with his toddler son on his shoulders. They heard the boy screaming but thought this was because his father had dunked him in the cold water.
However, they then heard cries for help and Isla immediately realised they were in trouble and began swimming out to them.
Eilidh chased her into the sea to give her their blow-up Lilo airbed and then waded back to shore and called the emergency services.
In the mean-time Isla reached the man and child and, although she was out of her depth she managed to get the little boy on to the Lilo.
As she did so the father came up out of the water and she dragged him on to it as well to get his head and arms out of the water. She then began swimming back to the shore with the Lilo.
As she did so the father came up out of the water and she dragged him on to it as well to get his head and arms out of the water. She then began swimming back to the shore with the Lilo. At this point Keith Gray saw what was happening and swam out to help Isla get the man and child back to the beach.
By the time they reached the beach the father was unconscious and foaming at the mouth from taking in sea-water.
Eilidh did an internet search on her phone to see if she could find out what she should do to help him.
At that point Sophie Ross arrived and administered first aid until the coastguards, a lifeboat, police and an air ambulance arrived at the scene.
The girls have since been credited with saving the lives of both the father and son. If they had not acted with the speed they did there is no doubt that both of them would have drowned.
In addition to the awards they are to receive the rescuers have also won the personal praise of Andrew Chapman, Secretary of the Royal Humane Society.
He said : “Put simply, Isla and Eilidh were the right people in the right place at the right time. They realised that the man and his son were in serious danger and didn’t hesitate to go to their aid.
“The beach at Fraserburgh is known for dangerous rip tides, but Isla ignored any danger to herself to swim out.
“Eilidh went into the water after her, realising that the airbed would be of enormous assistance and then, kept a cool head and called the emergency services.
“Keith Gray and Sophie Ross also played important roles in preventing what could have turned into a double fatality. All four of them richly deserve the awards they are to receive.”
No date has yet been fixed for presentation of the awards.