Shoreham Coastguard Rescue Team send inspiring video message to popular volunteer recovering from Coronavirus

“We're a family.” That's how Shoreham Coastguard Station Officer Mike Kerley describes the togetherness and spirit of the team which sits beside the seaside in West Sussex.

And those words could really not be more apt. When Mike's colleague, Andy Hall – a popular volunteer with the team and longest-serving Coastal Rescue Officer of 18 years sadly contracted Coronavirus five weeks ago – it of course affected the close-knit Coastguard family at Shoreham greatly.

Indeed, the subsequent news that Andy's condition had started to worsen at Worthing Hospital was even more worrying. And, from there, the team were then made aware he had been taken into intensive care and required a ventilator machine to breathe.

In the hardest of moments, Mike and his colleagues were desperate to summon as much positive energy and collective well-wishes for Andy and his family as soon as possible.

Long-time volunteer: Andy Hall.
And, it's safe to say, they did just that.

The Shoreham team created a video – which has now had thousands of engagements and shares on their Facebook page – featuring humorous anecdotes and appearances by Andy's friends at the station.

“The video has worked really well and we had fun with it by filming people, with safe social distancing in mind, doing typical jobs Andy would normally be involved with around the station,” said Mike, who was behind the idea and shared the footage with the hospital's medical staff so they could show Andy some familiar faces.

Thankfully, Andy was discharged from intensive care this week and is continuing his recovery and getting better day-by-day at the hospital.

The 72-year-old cycling fanatic – who is hailed as the fittest member of the 12-strong person team at Shoreham – has now also been able to watch the video in full.

“He is definitely a fighter,” Mike said of Andy. “He has beaten cancer, had a double knee replacement and now got the better of Covid-19.

“Andy is part of the furniture at the station and a man who everyone respects and loves. We'd like to think that the video has helped him through his treatment and is aiding his recovery by making it feel like he is having regular visitors in hospital.”

The team are of course eager to see Andy in the flesh from a safe social distance sooner rather than later once he is able to return home safely.

Up until then, the Shoreham team have already been shopping on his behalf and are making sure Andy's cupboards and fridge are fully stocked when he is able to be discharged from hospital.

For now, the thoughts and well-wishes from everyone at HM Coastguard are still with Andy and it is perhaps no surprise that he has already started to cycle gently on a stationary bike inside the hospital!

By Stuart Appleby

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