THE daughter of a diver who was dramatically rescued by Largs Lifeboat after almost dying while investigating a shipwreck off the Isle of Cumbrae says she will be forever thankful for their heroic actions.

Claire McCrae, 38, recently walked around the Isle of Cumbrae as a special thank you to the RNLI for helping to rescue her father Donald 13 years ago.

This year Claire plans to run the Berlin marathon on behalf of the RNLI and is also taking part in the virtual Boston marathon for the charity who saved her dad's life.

She said: “I started fundraising for them when my dad was rescued following a diving accident in 2008.

"It made me realise that people take for granted that, should they get into difficulty, then the people in ‘the big orange boat’ will come and rescue them.

"However, so many people don’t realise that the RNLI is a charity and most of their people are volunteers.

“My dad’s accident was terrifying for all of us. He was a very experienced diver, someone who had taken part in hundreds of dives at home and abroad. He had a plan if something went wrong and he had his dive group, but still almost lost his life.

"Nobody goes out expecting something bad to happen to them but when it does you just hope the right people are there to help.

"The currents that day were pretty strong and he got separated from the party after diving to a wreck between Great and Little Cumbrae.

"After being separated he knew if he continued on a path he could get to the boulder field area next to Wee Cumbrae and planned to do a controlled ascent, but rather than hitting a boulder field he hit a vertical rock face. He then suffered from a particularly severe form of the bends and resurfaced - he was lucky another dive boat happened to come across him and raise the alarm.

"We were so lucky too that the hyperbaric chamber in Millport was there and he was able to get urgent treatment. He airlifted to the hyperbaric chamber in Aberdeen and Cumbrae Coastguard helped sort out the transfer. He wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for all of the help."

“Dad was so fortunate to have assistance from the RNLI, the Coastguard Rescue Team and the Royal Navy helicopter. I knew I wanted to give something back and for me the best option was to start fundraising for them.”

After taking part in the virtual Kiltwalk around Cumbrae, there was a special surprise in store for big-hearted Claire.

She was one of two winners of a brand-new Hyundai i20 courtesy of Kiltwalk headline sponsor Arnold Clark.

Claire said: “You obviously just don’t expect anything like that but what a surprise. It didn’t sink in until I saw the car sitting in my drive."

Claire and her partner, Kevin, walked around Cumbrae, where her dad’s accident took place, along with their dog Cooper, before walking along the front in Largs to the lifeboat station.

She added: "This year, with the Kiltwalk being virtual, we walked around Great Cumbrae which is where my dad was rescued.

"At the end of the walk, we made sure to include a loop to Largs RNLI Lifeboat Station. It seemed like a very fitting circuit to do.

“The Kiltwalk is a particularly great event to do and benefits the RNLI even more due to the businessman Tom Hunter topping up people’s donations by a further 50 per cent this year.”

Lynsey Anderson, Community Manager for the RNLI, said: “It’s always great working with fundraisers who have such a passionate connection to us, Claire’s commitment to fundraising for us and her dad’s rescue story are really moving.

"We’re so grateful for anyone who supports us through their fundraising efforts as we rely entirely on public generosity."