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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Tributes to Millom hero who saved drowning man

THE heroic story of a Millom man who rescued a drowning father 40 years ago has returned to the fore as relatives mourn his death.

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ROYAL HONOUR Richard Ernest Benson, who has died aged 88. He was awarded the BEM for bravery

Tributes have been paid to Richard Ernest Benson, who died at the age of 88 after living with Alzheimer’s for eight years.

They were led by his wife, Margaret, who said: “He was happy with his lot and didn’t ask for anything.”

In 1973, Mr Benson, of Mainsgate Road, Millom, received the British Empire Medal from the Queen for his bravery, after he and two other men saved another man’s life off the coast of Haverigg in the Duddon estuary.

While sitting in his car on the coast, Mr Benson witnessed a man and his young son heading out into rough seas in a rowing boat.

After watching the pair get into trouble, Mr Benson and two other men got in a rowing boat themselves and went out to save them.

Unfortunately they were unable to rescue the young boy, but managed to save the father.

Their courageous act would see the formation of inshore rescue in the Duddon estuary.

Besides earning the BEM, Mr Benson lived a full and interesting life.

Mrs Benson, 78, said: “He was very active up until these last few years. He was a wildfowler, and enjoyed sea-fishing and gardening. He was also a very good sportsman.”

Mr Benson played amateur rugby league for Millom and then professionally for Workington. He was also a keen sprinter.

Mrs Benson said:“He was also very happy living here. He really couldn’t see why anybody left.”

Mr Benson undertook many different jobs during his lifetime. During the Second World War he was a Bevin Boy.

He later worked for the ambulance service in Millom, and finished his career with a job at Eskmeals gun range.

A keen hobbyist, he was also very proud to be the principal cornet player for the Holborn Hill Royal Brass Band, after starting out playing with the Salvation Army.

He had one daughter, Sheila Taylor, who has two children and three grandchildren.

She said: “He was a very kind family man. He loved his grandchildren, and his labradors that he would take for walks.”

Have your say

Condolences to his family. Refreshing to hear of a good man and a brave man. So many stories are of the complete opposite. God rest his soul.

Posted by Andy Kelly on 19 March 2014 at 18:01

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