Coastguard volunteer receives award for 35 years of dedicated service

A Coastguard Rescue Officer who has spent more than three decades volunteering on the Shetland Islands has been given an award to mark his commitment.  
Sue Todd,  presenting Ronnie Leslie with his award 

Ronnie Leslie has been with HM Coastguard for more than 35 years. He was given his award by Coastal Operations Divisional Commander Sue Todd at a presentation attended by family, friends and colleagues.

Dave Sweeney,  Senior Coastal Operations Officer said: ‘This is very important as it recognises Ronnie’s commitment to HM Coastguard over 35 years, his commitment to the community and the wider Shetland community.’

Ronnie said he had enjoyed his time with the Coastguard: ‘It’s been an eventful time in the Coastguard. I’m glad to see the younger people coming through now and I really recommend it to the younger generation.’

Sue Todd paid tribute to the volunteering efforts of people like Ronnie as she gave him his award:
She said: ‘The volunteers in our service do a tremendous job, day in, day out all the way around the coast. It’s great we’ve got teams in this day and age that are still prepared to commit an awful lot of time and energy to Coastguard rescue work.

‘I’m very grateful for the years of service Ronnie’s given us. Thirty five years is a very long time to be doing anything. I’m particularly delighted there’s so many family members here tonight because family plays a huge part in Coastguard rescue.

‘You’re the people who are disturbed in the middle of the night when the pager goes off or when the guys go out to a job and don’t go home for hours or days at a time. Everyone plays their part. Generations before Ronnie have been Coastguards and generations to come too.'

Dave said that he is currently looking for more people to join the Coastguard Rescue Teams.
He said: ‘You’ve got to enjoy team working and being part of a team. There’s a lot of exciting aspects to being a Coastguard Rescue volunteer – we have rope rescue, which involves going over a cliff, water rescue, search aspects, radio aspect. There’s a whole variety of different things in the CRS.

‘It makes you feel part of the community and contributing to that community.

‘I’m a Coastguard because I really enjoy all the aspects of what the Coastguard does. And of course, as part of the bigger picture I’ve always been inclined to help the community. I feel Shetland is my home, the community spirit makes it a marvellous place to live, they help each other out in times in need and that’s what being in the Coastguard is like. It’s why we have dedicated volunteers like Ronnie Leslie.

‘We do need more people. We need people from all different walks of life. People have different skills sets that they can all bring to the role and that’s what being part of the team involves. It’s finding all these different skills and bringing them together to make a team.

‘We’ve got a cracking set of people throughout the Coastguard, they’re all different, they all bring different things and it actually makes a really really good team.

‘All of it is about knowing you’re making a difference. It’s that feeling of knowing ‘I helped someone today.’

If you think you've got what it takes to be a Coastguard on the Shetland Islands please email Shetland Islands

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