STAFF and volunteers got a pat on the back from England’s top Coastguard when he visited the Humber Control Centre in Bridlington.
Rod Johnson, Chief Coastguard, spent several hours at the Limekiln Lane centre which is responsible for safety at sea from Berwick on Tweed in the North down to the mouth of the Humber.
Arriving around lunchtime on Thursday Mr Johnson, who was making a tour of Coastguard centres up and down the country, held meetings with full-time coastguard officers, staying until 10.30pm in order to talk to night watch officers who came on during the evening. He also met with coast rescue officers from elsewhere who travelled to Bridlington to meet him and spent time with Mike Bill, coastal safety officer based at Bridlington who has responsibility for the East Coast from Berwick down to Yarmouth, and the Yarmouth control centre.
Tony Tuton, rescue co-ordination centre manager, said the visit was to meet as many staff as possible and to reassure them about the future of the service and thank everyone for their work.
During his stay he also met members of the 16-strong Bridlington team of Coastguard Search and Rescue Volunteers who are based at the centre and congratulated them on their recent success at completing their training with flying colours.
But there was a surprise in store for one of them.
Before leaving Mr Johnson asked to see volunteer Andy Stork, to thank him for his actions last Tuesday in guiding Flamborough lifeboat to a man spotted clinging to a lobster pot marker buoy in high seas off the Flamborough headland.
Andy, 44, who lives in Flamborough, said: “That was dropped on me, it was a big surprise,”
When an emergency call came through that a man was in the sea several hundred yards off the headland area known locally as Sanwick, Andy left his job at Thornwick Seafarm Holiday Centre and made his way to the cliff top to try and spot the man. He saw him, managed to get a fix on his position, and was able to guide the lifeboat to rescue him. “There were no heroics involved, just doing what we are trained to do,” he said.
The man was safely recovered and taken to hospital suffering from the effects of hypothermia.
The Humber Centre had been facing a downgrade to daytime operations only as part of proposed “modernisation” measures but after a campaign against the cut, which would have meant the lost of around 20 jobs, its future as a 24 hour station is now secure.