Opera star Katherine Jenkins 'saved' by Humber RNLI crewman on ITV's Surprise, Surprise
SHE has performed at some of the most prestigious venues around the world in front of thousands of people.
Now, world-famous opera star Katherine Jenkins has given a more intimate show on Spurn Point to celebrate the work and commitment of an East Yorkshire hero.
The performance was part of ITV's Surprise, Surprise programme for Humber RNLI superintendent coxswain Dave Steenvoorden, a lifeboat crewman for 22 years who has taken part in more than 1,000 rescues.
He is a also huge Katherine Jenkins fan, known by the crew to crank up her CDs while carrying out paperwork.
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"I've not stopped smiling since," said Dave. "I was blown away and couldn't help but cry.
"It truly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget."
He was nominated by volunteer lifeboat crewman Tom Ward for dedicating his life to the RNLI organisation and for saving the lives of so many people.
Dave, 55, was led to believe the TV cameras were at Spurn Point filming documentary about Britain's rescue services.
He said: "The crew were acting slightly suspiciously in the weeks prior to filming.
"Tom kept sneaking into my office and checking the station rotas but I never suspected such a lovely surprise was heading my way.
"We were apparently taking part in a mock rescue at sea with someone suffering from a heart attack.
"To be honest, I was getting a little annoyed with the crew as some procedures weren't being carried out as they should have been. I walked up to the casualty and thought 'She looks nice'. Then I thought 'She looks like Katherine Jenkins'. I thought 'Don't be stupid' until the presenter Dave Berry explained it was for Surprise, Surprise. I couldn't believe it."
To add to the emotional experience, family, friends and even people Dave had helped rescue over the years had been hidden at Spurn Point, waiting to jump out when the surprise was revealed.
The programme was broadcast last night and Dave said: "It really was mind-blowing that all these people came to see me. I was picking out the faces and I couldn't help but get a bit emotional."
Mr Ward is among the people extremely grateful to Dave after he himself was injured while on a rescue mission.
He said: "I cracked three ribs and bruised my spine in rough waters and Dave stabilised me before taking me to Grimsby docks to meet an ambulance."
If he had not been looked after so well, Mr Ward could have lost the use of his left-hand side.
He said: "When I heard ITV was looking for nominations for their new series I thought Dave would be the ideal person to receive a special treat in recognition of his loyal service to the RNLI.
"I wanted to say thank you for all his dedication and reward Dave with a rescue mission he would never forget."
As for the organisation, the crew and even Dave's wife Karen managed to keep the secret from him.
Mr Ward said: "It took weeks of detailed planning, hushed whispers and lots of phone calls to the ITV production team.
"I'm really pleased the surprise was such a success and I would like to thank my fellow crew members and Dave's family and friends for keeping everything under wraps."
Unfortunately for the crew, Katherine has not decided to quit her opera singing to become a full-time member.
Dave said: "It really was amazing and especially being nominated by the crew.
"It won't be a role reversal between me and Katherine. Have you ever heard me sing?"