Honour for Coastguard rescuers after years of service

Lytham Coastguard rescuers Barry Thornber, right, who retired after 40 years' service, and Capt Alan Yates, left, who retired after 12 years (Picture: David Hurst)
Lytham Coastguard rescuers Barry Thornber, right, who retired after 40 years' service, and Capt Alan Yates, left, who retired after 12 years (Picture: David Hurst)
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Two Coastguard rescuers have been honoured for their years of dedication.

Barry Thornber, 71, was presented a second bar to go with his long-service medal after he recently retired following four decades.

And Captain Alan Yates, 66, was given a certificate after stepping down following 12 years of loyal service.

Station officer for Lytham and Blackpool, Paul Little (inset), yesterday paid tribute to the pair, who were given a fond send-off at the Coastguard station on the North Beach Car Park in St Annes on Monday evening.

“When you have people with experience, you can rely on their judgement,” he said. “Most of our jobs are in Blackpool and a couple of guys go straight from their house to the scene, and give reports on what’s happening.

“A new person would not necessarily understand the sea state, and the dangers, as well as somebody with experience.”

Barry, a former hotelier who lives in Ludlow Grove, Bispham, started his Coastguard career in Shoreham before moving to the Fylde coast. He retired in February, when he said the ‘old bones are starting to ache and the knees have given up’, but kept in touch with his former colleagues ahead of the presentation.

He said: “It was a very sad night because it’s the end for me. It went well and it was nice to see everybody again. I do miss it, I must admit, but there comes a time in everybody’s life when you have to pack up.”

Captain Yates, of Walesby Place, Ansdell, said he joined the service after retiring from the Navy to ‘give something back’.

He said: “I enjoyed it very much so, it was a good experience. It was a pleasure to serve with such a good bunch of lads.”

A drive to bring in around six new faces will be held later this year. Email lytham.coastguard@gmail.com to register your interest.