Gorleston volunteers awarded for long service keeping coast safe

l-r Richard and Christine Gooding, Mike Stokes and Geoff Townsley with their service certificates. Pictures by Victor Ling, Barkers photographic, Gorleston

A BAND of volunteers whose eagle eyes help keep Gorleston's coastal waters safe have been awarded for their tireless years of service.

Members of the town's Coastwatch group were handed certificates and badges for their long standing efforts at a celebratory ceremony this week - with a trio of well established lookouts receiving accolades for a whopping 15 years service.

Richard Gooding - who took part in the group's first ever lookout shift - and his wife Christine were among those to be awarded the long service badges.

The third recipient of the coveted 15 year badge was Hugh Edgell, who missed out on Tuesday's ceremony at the Pier Hotel as the ice and snow caused hazardous driving conditions from his home in Wroxham.

Senior watch keeper Barbara Hay said the group had not handed out any 15 year service certificates for 'quite some time' so the ceremony was extra special for those that received the top accolade.

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'It was a big event for us,' she added. 'It was a lovely evening and everybody was really pleased to get their badges.'

The annual ceremony, which also included presentations of 10 and five year awards, also serves as a way to say thank you to the group's unwavering members.

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Based at the end of Gorleston pier, the Coastwatch team keep an eye on swimmers, boats and seaside goers 364 days a year, and work with Yarmouth Coastguard and other maritime agencies to cover 64 square miles.

Barbara said members were keen to further promote their role within the town this year particularly with the imminent closure of Yarmouth Coastguard, which she thought was 'a shame'.

'We get a lot of people saying 'we didn't know you were here',' she added. 'We're trying to promote the station itself and push it forward.

'Locals think we're part of the Coastguard and going too, we're trying to get it across that we're watching the coast, we can see the water and we've also got the local knowledge.'

The full list of badge winners were:

10 years service: Geoff Townsley and Mike Stokes

Five years service: Jaqeline Ayre, Reg Henman, John Hills, Graham Provis, Eddie Ransome and Keith Warnock

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