Coastguard staff and RNLI volunteers recognised in Queen's 2015 New Year honours list

A man from Poole credited with pioneering a voluntary flood rescue team is among the individuals being recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list for their contribution to saving lives at sea.

Captain Hugh Fogarty joined the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in 1984, and in 2000, he pioneered the creation of the charity’s Flood Rescue Team, which has saved many lives.

In 2012, the team – made up of volunteers – were deployed 12 times, rescuing 81 people and saving six lives. It was also in this year that the first RNLI medal for bravery was awarded to three members of the Flood Rescue Team for the rescue of a woman clinging to a tree in a swollen river in Devon.

But it was not just flood rescue where Hugh was instrumental in driving change; his 30-year career has seen him undertake trials of lifeboats in all manner of sea conditions. Hugh was responsible for creating the operational specifications for a fast and capable fleet of lifeboats, a complex role which involved balancing strength, design and cost.

RNLI Chief Executive Paul Boissier said: ‘It’s a huge responsibility – ensuring that lifeboats are robust enough to withstand all that nature can throw at them.

‘Hugh is held in the highest regard by the many thousands of volunteers who crew our lifeboats across the country. In the words of a well-known crew member, ‘if the boat is good enough for Hugh, it’s good enough for me.’’

Whilst Hugh’s responsibilities as Head of Operations (Operational Support) came with high accountability and often the need to make some critical decisions, Hugh is perhaps best known outside the RNLI for his light-hearted role as Walter Only, the mascot of the 2014 H2Only campaign where participants were challenged to drink only water for two weeks.

Walter urged participants to become ‘masters of self-control’ and raise vital funds to enable the charity to save more lives at sea. The challenge is set to return in the summer of 2015.

Paul added: ‘Hugh has made a huge difference to the future direction of the RNLI. I am delighted he has been recognised with an MBE.’

Other lifeboat volunteers recognised in the Queen’s New Year honours list include David Martin, from Monifieth in Dundee.

David has been a volunteer with the RNLI for the last 26 years, and more recently became the volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager at two lifeboat stations – a feat almost unheard of in the RNLI’s 190 year history.

The role of Lifeboat Operations Manager is unpaid, yet it requires consistently effective management skills and an almost limitless commitment of time – it is the Lifeboat Operations Manager who selects and trains a crew, ensures the lifeboat is fully maintained, and authorises it for launch, often in difficult or dangerous conditions. David will receive an MBE for the difference he has made at both Broughty Ferry and Peterhead lifeboat stations.

Mike Hewitt, from Wadebridge in Cornwall, also receives an MBE for his commitment to water safety on the Camel Estuary. Mike was instrumental in persuading the RNLI to open a station at Rock, following a spate of accidents on the Estuary which Mike was often the first to respond to. The station was established in 1988 and has assisted 270 people and saved 82 lives since.

Also in Cornwall, Roy Pascoe from Mousehole will receive the British Empire Medal in recognition of his unwavering commitment to the lifeboat crew and wider community of Newlyn.

Following the tragic events of 19 December 1981, where all eight crew of the lifeboat Solomon Browne were lost in a service to the stricken coaster Union Star, Roy did much to calm and reassure others in a community hit by tragedy and he has continued to provide this support, staying close to the families and acting as a constant source of wisdom, encouragement and cheerful enthusiasm for the crew.

Swansea man Steve Davies has been recognised as an inspirational speaker on the subject of sea safety, sharing his knowledge with all that he encounters in order that adults and children alike are aware of the dangers of the sea. He will be made an MBE.

Tireless fundraisers from the North of England have also been recognised – Sue Watson, 73, from Flamborough will receive the British Empire Medal in recognition of her continued commitment to raising vital funds to enable the RNLI to carry out its lifesaving work.

In a small, traditional seaside village, Sue is the driving force behind a fundraising group which holds innovative and highly successful fundraising events, including the much loved Maggot Racing; Sue herself is often found at the front of the crowds of children, cheering on the racing maggots.

Tom Ridyard, 72, from Bolton, has been a volunteer fundraiser for the RNLI for the past two decades. He was also one of the leaders of the clean-up operation at Lytham St Annes Lifeboat Station following the storm and tidal surges of December 2013, ensuring the lifeboat could remain on service despite the adverse weather. He will be made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

MCA honours

Meanwhile, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is celebrating after three of its team received awards in the New Year Honours list.

MCA New Years honours: Kenneth Richards, Steven Dexter and Jane Lee.

Kenneth Richards, Steven Dexter and Jane Lee. Credit: MCA

Kenneth Richards has given more than 45 years of commitment as a Coastguard Rescue Officer in Cornwall. He is the Station Officer with the Port Isaac Rescue Team, leading his fellow volunteers to carry out rescue missions in all weathers and often at unsocial hours. He’s been awarded a MBE.

Kenneth, who lives with his wife in Port Isaac, North Cornwall said: “I consider it a great honour to receive this award in recognition of my work with the Coastguard Rescue Service. I wear the uniform with pride and I really love and live for Her Majesty’s Coastguard. I receive this on behalf of my team, colleagues and all volunteers who give so much to make the Coastguard Rescue Service such a success.”

Steven Dexter is an Evidence Analyst based at the MCA headquarters in Southampton. He receives a MBE for more than 27 years as a civil servant, 12 of those working for the MCA, and his work in particular on recreational water safety.
Steven, who lives with his family in Romsey, Hampshire, said:  “I am delighted and extremely proud to receive this award. It is a great honour for me. I thoroughly enjoy my role in the Agency where I am surrounded by a team who all strive for safety at sea. I feel privileged that my work in this area makes a difference.”

Jane Lee manages the UK Consolidated European Reporting System (CERS), an electronic information management system, and is recognised with a MBE for her tireless efforts with the ports industry that have significantly improved this vital information system.
Jane, who lives in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, said: “”I am extremely proud and sincerely humbled to receive this award. I hope my personal recognition is also considered as a reflection of the commitment and tremendous work of all of the staff involved in this area of work.”