A ROYAL Navy paramedic who dramatically saved seven people trapped at the bottom of a cliff face has been revealed as the service’s most experienced rescuer – and is in line for a bravery honour.
Petty Officer Marcus ‘Wiggy’ Wigfull, aged 39, from Unstone, Dronfield, has rescued 624 people after attending more than 800 call-outs over 13 years on the Royal Navy’s search and rescue helicopters.
The former Henry Fanshawe School pupil is currently serving on HMS Gannet, in Ayrshire, Scotland, and has previously been based in Cornwall.
But the married father-of-two is modest about his record.
He said: “To me it’s just my job and it’s a job which I love, so to be nominated for an award is very humbling. It’s a great feeling to know that what the duty crew and I do can make a real difference.”
PO Wigfull has been invited to a gala awards ceremony at the Hilton Hotel, Glasgow, next Friday, where he will find out if he has won the Our Heroes award.
He is nominated in the Armed Forces category of the awards run by the Daily Record newspaper in Scotland.
He has been described as ‘a credit’ to the Fleet Air Arm and the Royal Navy by the unit’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Debdash Bhattacharya.
One of Wiggy’s most difficult rescues in recent years was that of three crew from a yacht in heavy seas off Ayrshire.
The yacht was caught on rocks and pitching violently in the waves. Lowering Wiggy was tricky and dangerous, as the yacht’s mast and rigging could have become caught on the winch wire. He was awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery in the Air for his actions.
Other difficult rescues in recent times have included rescuing people injured in lightning strikes, a woman who had fallen 300ft and recovery of a surfer in 60mph winds and 15ft seas, with only 20 minutes’ light remaining.
And Wiggy winched seven people and a dog from the island of Staffa, off Scotland’s west coast, after their boat capsized, leaving them stranded on a narrow rock ledge at the foot of 130ft cliffs with a rising tide in front of them.