OBAN, Scotland — RNLI – Royal National Lifeboat Institution crew have celebrated the 18th birthday of a girl – born on their lifeboat.
Emma Cato was born in 2005 on open waters near Loch Linnhe – 10 days before her due date.
Oban RNLI Lifeboat team are tasked with transporting pregnant mothers from a remote Scottish island.
The crew, based in the Highland town of Oban, has had four births aboard their vessel over the years.
The team have now stuck to a long-held Royal Navy tradition of presenting babies born on their vessels with a ship’s bell when they turn 18.
Emma was presented with her bell by crewmember Donald Matheson, who was on board back in 2005 when she was born.
Donald took Emma and her parents Rachel and Glenn out for a spin in the boat that she was born on for the second time.
She was even holding the same cuddly rabbit toy the team had given to her on the boat the first time.
“I was a bit nervous coming here but it’s very exciting,” said Emma who comes from Fionnphort, Scotland.
“I’m really glad to be able to come on board the boat. I’ve seen it often when I was coming across to school on the ferry, but always from a distance,” she added.
Donald recalled the events of the night when the on-board midwife told him they would have to have the birth on board.
“Everything happened very quickly,” said Donald.
”The midwife was checking Rachel and she said we need to stop right now, and a short time later Emma was born,” he recalled.
“Emma’s father Glenn had his hands full looking after Emma’s older sister, so I was holding Rachel’s hand and acting as a sort of second dad,” he added.
”It was a lovely moment for all of us on the crew that night,” he continued.
Photos show the moment Emma was presented with her large brass bell – enscribed with the name of the vessel that she was born on, the Mora Edith MacDonald.
Rachel said she remembered feeling she was in safe hands during the unusual birth.
“My recollection is of feeling totally looked after. The crew and the midwife knew what they were doing, I just had to rely on everybody else,” said Rachel, Emma’s mom.
“We were just trying to get to Oban – we never thought Emma would be born halfway across on Loch Linnhe,” she narrated.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker