Weston-super-Mare RNLI lifeboatman lost in a terrible accident
The tragedy of the loss of Paul Giles is a dreadful blow to his family and to the lifeboat crew and station he served so well. He will be sorely missed.
A dedicated family man and a committed lifeboatman Paul James Giles was born in 1972 in Bristol. He moved to Weston-super-Mare in 1974. His schooling was at Mendip Green, St Martins and Worle schools. After his apprenticeship he went on to have a career as a self employed carpenter working across Weston and the South West
As a young boy he was a Scout and Venture Scout and through the scouting movement he completed his Duke of Edinburgh’s awards, culminating in his Gold Award being presented to him by Prince Philips in London. It was through the D of E that Paul first volunteered with the RNLI in Weston.
He joined the volunteer crew in 1993 and served as boat crew until 2000 and then as helmsman until 2012. During that period Weston’s station saved 97 lives, some of which Paul was directly involved with.
On the evening of 7th October 2001 Paul was part of a 3 man crew who put to sea in a force 8 gale to try to locate a person who had apparently been seen walking into the water. The search was completed in horrendous conditions. No one was ever found and eventually the Coastguard stood the team down but for his commitment and bravery Paul received a letter of thanks from the RNLI’s Chairman.
20 years ago on a Friday night in the early hours of the morning the lifeboat crew were called to a report of two night clubbers who had decided to go for a swim near the Grand Pier. The Coastguard at the time advised that the tides would have pushed them up towards Sand Bay and Sand Point. However, the team with Paul aboard the lifeboat, used their local knowledge and knew that the casualties would in fact have been swept down the bay towards Brean Down.
They searched for a while and Paul then shouted “I can hear someone calling for help”. They listened but no one else on the boat could hear anything. The lifeboats moved in the direction that Paul pointed and then they stopped and listened again. They fired up a white flare to illuminate the area and saw on the edge of the light were the two casualties, one just seconds from drowning. Both were taken aboard and made a full recovery. Those two men owe their lives to Paul’s hearing and his driving focus on locating them in the darkness before it was too late.
In 2017 Paul re-joined the Lifeboat Station team and served as one of the management team, responsible for authorising the launch of the boats for rescues and the day to day management of the station and team.
In more recent years Paul became a member of Weston Bay Yacht club and took up sailing with a small sail boat of his own. It was while working on his yacht moorings on the bank of the River Axe that a tragic, freak accident happened involving his Land Rover, resulting in him losing his life.
Paul leaves behind his wife Ruth and daughters Poppy (14) and Holly(10). Paul was a truly dedicated family man and despite being extremely hard working at his job and fully committed to the RNLI, his family always came first.
Mike Buckland, Weston RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager who served with Paul for most of his service, said; ‘I am truly devastated at losing a friend, fellow lifeboatman and member of our station management team. A man with such passion and commitment will be sadly missed by everyone at Weston Lifeboat Station. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ruth, Poppy, Holly and Paul’s wider family at this most difficult of times.’
The funeral will be held on Thursday 19th at 3:30 pm at Christ Church, Montpelier. Weston-super-Mare. Family flowers only. Donations if desired to Weston RNLI via Groves Funeral Directors, 115 High Street, Worle Weston super Mare, BS22 6HB.
The picture attached shows Paul Giles in his seagoing kit.