Ian Brown has been awarded the British Empire Medal after 30 years of volunteering as part of the Swanage Coastguard Rescue team.
Speaking to Swanage.News, Ian Brown admitted that at first he thought it was a hoax call when he was phoned with the news but was delighted to find out it was true. He said:
“It’s an absolute honour to be nominated and accepted and I’m very humbled, as I’m part of a small cog in a very big organisation. Often I get asked how many are in my team and until this year, I’ve always said there’s 12 in my team, but actually there are several thousand. There’s the community of Swanage and a lot of people across lots of organisations.
“Key partnerships in this town are the coastguard, RNLI, National Coastwatch – that’s the maritime side. And then we’ve got Dorset Police, Dorset Fire and Rescue and South Western Ambulance, as well as the landowners like the National Trust and local farmers, that are all very supportive when we’ve got an incident.
“An awful lot goes on in the background to protect people in Swanage.”
“His calm authority has provided support for his teammates”
A spokesperson for HM Coastguard said:
“Ian has been serving with the team in his local community since 1990. He has been involved in many high-profile incidents where his calm authority has provided support for his teammates and others in often traumatic situations.
“Ian has also given of his own time to promote maritime safety in the local community and leads his team’s attendance in the annual carnival parade which is another opportunity to engage with the public.”
“It’s been a very demanding year”
With the large influx of visitors into the town over the summer, who couldn’t go abroad due to coronavirus, this year has been extremely busy for the Swanage Coastguard.
“It’s been a very demanding year…going out and doing a rescue is hard enough in normal times but with Covid as well, it really put the pressure on with the increase in incidents.
“We’ve gone over 200 this year – normally there are 130 to 150 incidents but to have gone over 200 just shows how busy we’ve been this year.”
Despite having volunteered for 30 years, Ian says he isn’t thinking of retiring yet. He added:
“I’ve got very good support from my team, family and friends – they all play a big part. The number of spoilt meals, missed events and shopping trips – it’s a big part of being a coastguard.
“There’s been times this year when I’ve had to dig deep. With a fulltime job as well, it’s very time consuming but I work with some great people, who are very supportive – we’re one big team!”
“We can never thank enough those who go beyond the call of duty”
HM Coastguard chief executive, Brian Johnson said:
“We can never thank enough those who go beyond the call of duty, putting the safety and wellbeing of others first. Dedication like this should be rightly recognised and I am so proud that our people have been honoured by Her Majesty.”