COUNCILLOR Jeanie Bell is aiming to highlight the fantastic work done by the RNLI by recalling a harrowing ordeal as a child during which she and her sister were trapped beneath a capsized boat.

This week the RNLI has been criticised on the Mail Online and The Times for two per cent of their budget going towards them helping people abroad.

The argument is that they should be focused on people needing saving here and not giving assistance abroad.

After hearing this, Newton-le-Willows councillor Jeanie Bell took to Twitter to post pictures of newspaper clippings of when the RNLI saved her life when she was only four-years-old. She believes we should do all we can to support them.

St Helens Star:

Jeanie with the news clippings

Jeanie, who was then Jeanie McPherson, was only four-years-old when she was out on the Solway Firth with her then 11-year-old sister Kerry Neil, her dad Andrew McPherson and his friend Bob Laing.

It was September 28 1980, and the group decided to go out on the Firth with Bob's 14ft 6 boat.

Jeanie and Kerry were playing inside the cabin and Andrew and Bob were outside on the deck.

However, all went wrong when debris caused by an earlier tidal bore capsized the boat, throwing Andrew and Bob off the boat and trapping Jeanie and Kerry inside.

Speaking to the Star, mum-of-three Jeanie, said: "We had only been living in Dumfries for a short time while my mum was working there as a nurse, and my dad took us out on Bob's boat.

"Next thing Bob and dad were thrown off and water came rushing into the cabin where me and Kerry were.

St Helens Star:

The story made the front pages of two newspapers

"There was an air pocket at the bottom of the boat which was now over our heads but I was too little to reach, so my sister held me up.

"If dad and Bob had opened the doors the water would have just flooded in so we were stuck.

"In the end someone on land alerted the RNLI, coastguard and fire service, but we were stuck like that for 30 minutes.

"I can't remember it clearly, but I remember Kerry making sure my chin was always above the water and it being silty, dark and freezing in the cabin full of water, how she stayed calm I don't know.

St Helens Star:

The story made the front pages of two newspapers

"Eventually they came and dragged the boat more towards the shore and started turning it over.

"I remember being told to really hold my breath, and then they pulled us out.

"My sister was given an award for her bravery and even raised money for another life boat for the RNLI, because at the time they only had one for that area; it was called the KerryJean after us.

"We moved back to St Helens not long after that."

Jeanie shared the story in the hopes that people will realise the impact the RNLI have on many lives.

St Helens Star:

Jeanie with her sister

The 41-year-old added: "They saved our lives, I'm now a mum, my kids are here now and my sister and her kids are here, that's because of them.

"So when I read about the criticism of them I just had to share my story because they are really important.

"Systematic nationalism is telling us over and over again that we as a country should not be helping people abroad and it's upsetting me because a life saved is a life saved.

"We should be immensely proud of the RNLI and the work they do both here in the UK and globally to help save lives.

St Helens Star:

Tiny Jeanie after she was rescued

"It is such a small amount of their budget that goes towards help abroad, but how can we criticise them for saving lives?

"Brexit and national policies, that's what the focus is on, instead of a life being saved, it's just wrong.

"I was a child saved by the RNLI. I can't imagine what my mum felt on the shore knowing we were there.

"I'd want to know if my girls were in that situation, wherever they were, the RNLI and others would be there to save them."