HE went from serving pints to rescuing people in less than 30 minutes.
Hampshire landlord Benjamin Renouf was making sure his customers enjoyed a lovely Valentine’s evening before he got the call to save dozens of people trapped in a nearby restaurant.
A member of the volunteer coastguard, Benjamin, 38, raced to The Marine restaurant in Milford-on-Sea which was battered and flooded by the storms, helping 32 customers to escape.
It is for these actions Benjamin is the second person honoured as one of Your Flood Heroes in the Daily Echo’s new campaign.
Reflecting on the night he said: “We were having a very busy evening with our special Valentine’s menu but just after 10pm I got paged by the coastguard. They told me people had been trapped at the Marine and we were there in about 15 minutes.
“Once on the scene we came up with an action plan and decided the best plan was to evacuate the people from the premises. It all ran very smoothly.
“It was certainly the biggest operation I have ever been involved in and one of my colleagues said he had never seen Mother Nature that bad in 20 years at the coastguard.
“I never felt scared for my own safety, we have the right equipment and training. You have the training for the situation and you go about the job you have to do.”
He added: “Luckily we knew the place quite well because we had a coastguard fundraising barbecue there last summer so we knew the location internally and externally already. It’s almost like we knew it back to front.”
The 38-year-old has run the White Horse pub in Milford since last July, moving from nearby Hordle in the New Forest with wife Vikki and children Anya, 13, and Lily, eight.
He began volunteering two-and-a-half years ago following in the footsteps of his brother Matthew and friend Paul Richman.