DEDICATED coastguard volunteers are enjoying a right royal celebration after scooping a top award.
The Coastguard Rescue Service (CRS), a network of volunteers who are equipped to deal with a range of call-outs, has been handed the Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award 2012.
The special, one-off category of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS), which was established in 2002 as part of the UK honours system, is seen as the “MBE for community voluntary groups”.
But while the QAVS recognise the work of grassroots organisations at a local level, the Diamond Jubilee category honours groups that operate nationwide.
The CRS carries out cliff, mud and shoreline rescue services and can operate separately or jointly with other emergency and volunteer groups.
Greg Albrighton, CRS manager for the North East, said teams in Sunderland and Seaham provided an invaluable service.
“I am delighted that HM Coastguard’s CRS has been recognised by Her Majesty in her Diamond Jubilee year,” he said.
“CRSs in the Sunderland area are among the busiest teams in the East of England, with over 200 call-outs in 2012.
“The award is well deserved and has been hard-earned by the teams’ dedication and professionalism 24-7, 365 days a year.”
Nationally, the CRS consists of 3,500 volunteers in 365 teams strategically located around the coast.
Chief coastguard Peter Dymond said they play a vital role in helping save lives, improving maritime safety, and protecting the marine environment.
Coastguard rescue officers can be called out by the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre at any time of the day or night, in all weathers, to respond to and rescue people in trouble or missing.
Mr Dymond said: “I am delighted that the CRS has received this award which is a just reward and recognition for our volunteer coastguard rescue officers and their teams.
“They have a long history of rescuing those in trouble from shipwreck or those stuck or missing on the cliffs and shoreline of the UK and not forgetting their service to their local communities and the wider public.”