Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall serves up thank-you to Sidmouth Lifeboat

Jon Snow, Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Cathy Newman serve special guests at star-studded event

SIDMOUTH Lifeboat crew members were treated to dinner at River Cottage by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall after they came to his rescue when a fishing trip went wrong.

The Herald reported in August how the celebrity chef was out fishing with his 10-year-old son, Oscar, when his boat broke down and was washed into a precarious position west of Beer Head.

Lifeboat rescuers raced the scene and plucked them from the dangerous rocks as the stricken vessel began taking on water.

And as a thank you, 12 crew members were invited to have a special dinner at the River Cottage in Musbury last Sunday night - and found themselves being served by newsreaders from Channel 4.

The event was being filmed for a television show celebrating 30 years of the channel, which will be aired in January.

Mark Roden, one of the lifeboat crew who attended, said it was rather surreal being served by Jon Snow, Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Cathy Newman.

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But he said the crew had an amazing time and were grateful for the invitation from Hugh. He said: “The crew enjoyed a very relaxing evening, wining and dining.

“Hugh thanked the crew for getting him out of trouble and onto safe ground, and for all the great work that Sidmouth Lifeboat does.”

They enjoyed Hugh’s mulled cider, rabbit liver and kidney on toast, devilled crab, a rabbit stew with parsnip mash, and a panna cotta with berry compote to finish.

Naomi Firth, 31, the Sidmouth Lifeboat crew member who swam to the chef’s boat, attached a tow rope and climbed aboard to help bail out water, said she enjoyed the meal but is slightly dreading watching herself back on television.

But she added the publicity for the lifeboat is very welcome, who, as an independent station, require �1,000 in funding a week to stay open.

Naomi said: “It was really unexpected to be invited along, we don’t really do it for the thanks but it was nice to be honoured in this way.”

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