South Shields volunteers awarded for their dedication to saving lives

Members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade were presented with awards.
Members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade were presented with awards.

Volunteers have been honoured for clocking up more than 140 years of saving lives on the South Tyneside coastline.

Tom Fennelly. Captain Martin Robertson, Senior Captain Mark Taylor and Norman Jenson have been presented with long service awards to mark their valiant efforts supporting HM Coastguard in search and rescue operations.

South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade members training

South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade members training

Over the years, the men have put in thousands of hours of training and have taken part in thousands of call outs as part of South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade.

All four were presented with their awards by Mr Adam Turner, senior coastal operations officer with HM Coastguard, who said that their combined record of over 140 years service showed a remarkable dedication to the work of the Volunteer Life Brigade and it represented an tremendous commitment to the task of helping those in need around the coast.

The brigade’s Honorary Secretary Tom Fennelly said: “The last few years have been quite remarkable period in the long history of the Brigade.

“The latest restoration of the building, the 150th anniversary celebrations, the four Long Service Awards and the bestowing of the Freedom of the Borough combined with a healthy influx of new members, gives great hope for the future.”

The last few years have been quite remarkable.

Tom Fennelly

Mr Fennelly along with Captain Robertson received a Second Clasp to their Long Service Medal in recognition of the pair’s 40 years of continuous service.

Mr Fennelly has been a member since 1969 while Captain Robertson joined in 1974.

Senior Captain Mark Taylor received a First Clasp to his Long Service Medal and a certificate in recognition of 30 years’ continuous service.

Mark joined as a cadet member aged 16 in 1983 and has served as Captain since 1997.

Mr Jensen was presented with his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal having completed 20 years’ service.

Mr Jensen is also Assistant Honorary Secretary and becomes the Brigade’s first recipient of the re-named award with a new ribbon.

South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade was formed in 1866 to assist the Coastguard with the task of saving lives from shipwreck. The role of modern day team is to assist with all forms of search and rescue work still in conjunction with HM Coastguard.

Last year, a series of celebrations marked the 150th anniversary of the formation of the Brigade, supported by a £55,500 award from the Heritage Lottery Fund.