joe rowlands - Pride of Britain awards

Courageous Nantwich teenager Joe Rowlands has been awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery in the New Year Honours List.

The 14-year-old has been named on the Civilian Gallantry List for his incredible bravery in saving his dad Paul’s life during a dramatic kayaking incident off the coast of Anglesey.

And it crowns an amazing year as Joe, a student at Brine Leas School in Nantwich, was honoured in the Pride of Britain awards in October.

The kayaking incident happened earlier in 2018 when their boat capsized about a mile out to sea.

Firefighter Paul, an experienced kayaker and swimmer, realised their best chance of survival was to abandon the kayak and try and swim for it.

Joe reached safety first and clambered onto the rocks but after so long in the water his exhausted dad contracted hypothermia and passed out.

Risking his own life, Joe dived back into the sea, swam to his dad and dragged him to safety.

Despite bleeding heavily from badly cut feet, he performed CPR until Paul came around and then kept him alive until the RNLI arrived two hours later.

Mum Julie said: “We’re so proud of him. We wished it hadn’t happened of course, but it’s been so nice to have the support we have received.

“We found out about the honours medal about two weeks ago but were not able to say anything!

“It’s been quite a year.”

Other Cheshire-based awards in the New Year Honours List go to:

CBE for Christine Ann Gaskell, Chair of National Local Enterprise Partnership Network Management Board, for services to the community in Cheshire.

OBE for Christopher John Harrop, Group Marketing Director and Director of Sustainability, Marshalls plc, for services to the Prevention of Modern Slavery and Exploitation.

OBE for Alan Martin Stevens, chair, Board of Trustees, Disability Rights UK, for services to People with Multiple Sclerosis.

MBE for Sharon Granville for services to Museums.

MBE for Dr Pauline Grace Hutchinson, Medical Director and Chair, Medcare, for services to Children in Uganda.

BEM for Reginald Dunning for services to Education and the community in Sandbach.


  1. What a brave lad, well done, but skim the shore line in future, the sea is so unpredictable

    • Julie Rowlands says:

      The sea wasn’t the issue. Fault with the new Kayak !!

      • Guilhem Caroff says:

        Congratulation to Paul and Joe for their courage!
        And I hope they will be able to return kayaking on the sea, but with more safety (with a guide or a group, but not “alone”).

        When kayaking “alone” into the coast water (more than 300 meters from the shoreline), life jacket is mandatory, but not sufficient.
        You should add :
        – a Flashlight on the Life Jacket
        – a Whistle or a Foghorn
        – a Bailer or Manual Pump
        – a Adhesive Tape (in case of flooding)
        – a Towing Line
        – a Waterproof (IPX7) VHF Radio (to send a “MAYDAY” message on Channel 16)
        – a RADAR Reflector to be found easily by rescuers
        – a MIRROR to be found easily by rescuers
        – something to help to reenter in the kayak (paddle-float)
        – a knife

        If the kayak is “Sit-In” (not for the “Sit-On-Top”) :
        – a Spraydeck to avoid water inside the kayak
        – some Flotation Bags / Foams (about 1/3 of the volume of the kayak)

        And some skills are useful : to return the kayak, reenter inside, after having found the hole and put tape on it!

        Kayaking without guide, require some training, and safety exercises done in water!

        A kayakist who has never capsized, is not enough prepared to go alone further than the 300 meters of the shoreline!

        In UK, the British Canoeing Union certifications are great to learn how to kayak!

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