Lifeboat recruit gets civic award

Lifeboat men are renowned for their courage in the face of savage seas. But one 17-year-old lifeboat recruit has shown more determination that most to serve others.

Lifeboat men are renowned for their courage in the face of savage seas.

But one 17-year-old lifeboat recruit has shown more determination that most to serve others.

Caister High School sixth-former Thomas Garrod has cerebral palsy, but that did not stop him from answering his first emergency call when a second world war bomb was dredged up off the Yarmouth coast.

Last night he was recognised for his determination to overcome his disability when he was honoured at Yarmouth's inaugural civic awards at the town hall. Mayor Sue Robinson chose him for a special award.

Thomas, a fundraiser as well as a recruit, also welcomes visitors to the lifeboat station. He said his friends could not believe his recent adventure on the high seas.

He said: "I hope I can give inspiration to others in my situation. Life is for living. There are bad times but you get through those."

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He added: "I always volunteer to go out in the boat. I always ask the coxswain if they have enough crew."

Awards were also presented to recognise volunteer work, carers, the business of the year, environmental achievements, and contributions to the community. There was a young person's award and one recognising achievements in sport and culture.

A lifetime achievement award was given to artist Ernest Childs, who runs Yarmouth Potteries, for promoting the town's culture and history through his art and by starting Yarmouth's maritime festival.

The environmental award went to Patricia Page, who introduced the wheelie bin scheme to the borough.

Paul and Anne Dodson, from Martham, were recognised for their voluntary work, raising thousands to set up 901 Troop Marine Cadets in 2001.

Screenprint Plus, a printers based on the Harfreys Industrial Estate, won business of the year.

Michael Beales, 63, of Ormesby St Margaret, took home the carers' award for giving up his job and looking after his 61-year-old wife Sandra since she developed multiple sclerosis in 1997.

The community award, sponsored by the the EDP's sister paper, the Yarmouth Mercury, went to Lisa McRobb, of Gorleston, who runs groups for young people with social and mental health issues.

Jade Hurrell, from Gorleston, was young citizen of the year. The 17-year-old worked to bring a skate park to Southtown Common, and works at Madhouse - a youth club for five to 13-year-olds with behavioural problems.

Twenty-five years spent running the Young Persons' Theatre Group, at Gorleston, saw Maureen Miller and Margaret Dusmarik win the sport and culture award.