THE Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) has presented an award for courage to an Avoch 12-year-old who raised over £10000 for the rescue charity in memory of his father.

The efforts of Keiran Reid were recognised with a Child of Courage award at the TSB-supported Daily Record Pride of Scotland Awards, which he was surprised with by members of the Invergordon and Kessock RNL lifeboat stations while on a joint exercise.

While the young fundraiser was on board a Dolphin Spirit cruise with family members, two lifeboats pulled up alongside to offer their thanks for what the RNLI described as his “epic” efforts to support local lifeboat stations.

Reid raised more than £10000 for the RNLI in memory of his father Craig, who was washed overboard from the fishing trawler Apollo near Orkney in 2016. While an extensive, hours-long search was conducted by the RNLI, coastguard helicopters and the military, his body was only discovered three months later.

Yvette Kershaw, volunteer crew member at Kessock RNLI, commented: “We are in admiration of Keiran and the work he has done to help support his local RNLI lifeboat station. He is an inspirational young person and we are very grateful to him.

“He began fundraising by taking part in a charity car wash, and went on to have his own fundraising event, a bike ride and fancy dress.”

Alan MacDiarmid, deputy launching authority at Kessock RNLI and chair of the Lifeboat Management Group (LMG), added: “The whole crew is very proud of Keiran and his fantastic fundraising.”

In 2021, RNLI lifeboat crews and lifeguards saved 408 lives in Scottish waters – 169 more than in 2020 – while personnel at their 46 lifeboat stations spent 1116 more hours at sea on their various missions.

With over 267000 visitors recorded to the eight RNLI-lifeguarded beaches in Scotland in 2021 and with more expected this year, the RNLI is currently delivering its Swim Safe programme throughout Scotland, having delivered free lifesaving lessons to over 148000 children since 2013.

RNLI lifeguard supervisor and Swim Sage co-ordinator Iona Hamilton commented this week: “Last summer, RNLI lifeguards aided nearly 400 people across the eight beaches in Scotland. By educating children about water safety from a young age, together we can help reduce the number of incidents around our coasts and inland waters.

“We want children and parents to enjoy the beautiful beaches around Scotland but also to consider their own safety and know what to do in an emergency.”