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Meet the man who has spent 20 years saving lives on the coast

PUBLISHED: 15:17 04 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:38 04 October 2019

Keith Griffin, from North Walsham joined the coastguard back when he was just 30-years-old in June 2000. Picture: Kevin Griffin

Keith Griffin, from North Walsham joined the coastguard back when he was just 30-years-old in June 2000. Picture: Kevin Griffin

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A man who has been saving lives for almost 20 years has stepped down from the Bacton Coastguard team.

Keith Griffin, from North Walsham joined the coastguard back when he was just 30-years-old in June 2000. Picture: Kevin GriffinKeith Griffin, from North Walsham joined the coastguard back when he was just 30-years-old in June 2000. Picture: Kevin Griffin

Keith Griffin, from North Walsham joined the coastguard back when he was just 30 years old in June 2000 after seeing a recruitment letter in his local paper.

Now, 19 years and three months on, Mr Griffin has been on hundreds of shouts and received awards for his service.

The 50-year-old said: "I had just moved to Happisburgh and saw the letter to become a rescue officer so I joined and ended up working my way up the ranks to station officer.

"It was a huge part of my life, the team were brilliant, the shouts were both heartbreaking and exciting and I have made some friends for life."

Keith Griffin, from North Walsham joined the coastguard back when he was just 30-years-old in June 2000. Picture: Kevin GriffinKeith Griffin, from North Walsham joined the coastguard back when he was just 30-years-old in June 2000. Picture: Kevin Griffin

Mr Griffin has worked on many shouts including the Walcott floods in 2013 and the Trimingham rescue which saw a woman and dog in a tomb of mud.

He said: "The worst part of the job is the heartbreaking aspect, whether that is heading to an incident where somebody is in shock and drowning or helping villages that are flooded.

"In the Walcott floods in 2013 I remember the heartbreak of seeing teddy bears floating around the water, people's cars, picture frames and houses completely ruined. It was awful.

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"The woman that was stuck in the mud at Trimingham was also another shout I will never forget. It was something I have never seen before, it was a real challenge."

Keith Griffin, from North Walsham joined the coastguard back when he was just 30-years-old in June 2000. Picture: Kevin GriffinKeith Griffin, from North Walsham joined the coastguard back when he was just 30-years-old in June 2000. Picture: Kevin Griffin

Along with heartbreaking situations, the 50-year-old has also got good memories to remember from his days on the team.

Mr Griffin said: "In 2016 I won the Coastguard of the Year award, I still can't believe that I won out of 3,500 guards across the country."

When asked if he sees himself as a hero, Mr Griffin said: "If you see yourself as a hero then you are doing it for the wrong reasons, it is all about teamwork."

Since stepping down from HM Coastguard at Bacton, Mr Griffin is excited for new challenges.

Keith Griffin, from North Walsham joined the coastguard back when he was just 30-years-old in June 2000. Picture: Kevin GriffinKeith Griffin, from North Walsham joined the coastguard back when he was just 30-years-old in June 2000. Picture: Kevin Griffin

He said: "It was just time for a change, I'm going to help with Sea Palling's independent lifeboat.

"I can't thank Tony Garbutt and all the full-time staff at Bacton enough, I will miss them all."

For more information about becoming a volunteer visit: www.gov.uk/volunteer-as-a-coastguard/

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