North Coast teenager, Marley Shaw – an Army Cadet from Coleraine Detachment has recently been awarded the Royal Humane Society’s award for Bravery for his remarkable and quick thinking actions, following a family fun day out to the seaside, at West Strand Beach, Portrush.
Enjoying a day at the beach, Marley was swimming with his mum and some friends, when his Mum Louise Shaw noticed two boys who were quite far out in the water struggling. They were obviously out of their depth and finding it difficult to stay afloat. His Mum, Louise alerted Marley to the younger children’s distress. Without thought for himself he swam out and grabbed the first of the boys and dragged him across to his mum. He immediately went back for the second boy, who at this time was really struggling to stay afloat and obviously exhausted.
While Marley’s mum shouted as loud as she could for help, Marley kept the second boy’s head above the water, during this time he noticed that his mum was also fighting to stay afloat, he knew that she was not a strong swimmer and could see that she was getting really tired. Instinctively frightened for his mum, Marley swam across and attempted to help them both by supporting her holding on the other boy around the waist as firmly as he could while still keeping hold of the other swimmer and doing his utmost to keep him out of danger! Within what seemed like a long time, another man had noticed what was happening and came into the water the help bring his mum and the boy to shore. Even after this ordeal, Marley continued to help some other family members who were getting into difficulty, but supporting them until they got safely back to the shore.
Cadet Marley Shaw said,“I had completed my first aid course within the cadets, and one of the things that they teach you and highlight is to always keep a calm head and be confident that you know what you are doing. I knew that I was a pretty strong swimmer and I was sure that I could do it. While it was happening I was able to give everyone else who was involved clear direction on how to keep themselves safe while they were also helping others”
Marley’s mum Louise Shaw said,“Within a matter of minutes the situation just drastically changed. I’m not a strong swimmer and when I got into difficulty, I was terrified. I was going under the water with this wee boy holding on to me and I’m thinking ‘Oh my gosh, where is my own son?’. It was awful and I was terrified. It was such a relief when it was all over, knowing that I was okay and that Marley was okay. He did so, so well – I’m so proud of him”
Head of Cadet’s and Youth, Brian Sykes, MBE, Reserve Forces and Cadet’s Association for Northern Ireland, commented on Marley’s achievement, “We are so proud of Marley, and what he did to help on that day. He certainly showed the Army Cadets Core Values of Courage and Selfless Commitment! I’m very glad that he was able to assess the danger level and was confident enough to be able to help. I’m sure that his actions will inspire others to consider what they could do – although hopefully in a less dangerous circumstances than Marley found himself in – just to ‘lend a hand’ when situations arise. We teach our young people not to put themselves in danger first and hope that this message resonates as we come back into the summer season and will be using our beaches more regularly. Water safety is of paramount importance as the RNLI adverts tell us of the dangers in and around open water”
The Royal Humane Society Award for Bravery is a fitting tribute to the courageous actions that Marley Shaw took on that day. He is an exemplary young man, and his friends and family should all be righty proud.