Give some love to your local coastguard team this Valentine's Day

It’s not exactly been the best year for love – or much else for that matter – but not even COVID-19 has been able to diminish our deep love for HM Coastguard and the men and women that protect us, asking for nothing in return.

So, we thought it would be a good time to share in a bit of that affection this Valentine’s Day and thank our Coastguard teams across the country for their hard work and kindness in ensuring our safety and wellbeing.

In the last year, with the country in and out of lockdown and struggling to cope with a virus wreaking havoc across the world, our Coastguards have been prepared and willing to do what they can to help. Across the country, their support for our emergency service partners has been invaluable and they have helped ease a bit of the pressure on the NHS in these troubling times.

Despite all this, they’ve still been saving life and limb – and protecting our shores.

Give some love to your local coastguard team this Valentine's Day

Station officer of the Ardrossan Coastguard Rescue Team, Kevin Paterson, said he has had one of the busiest starts to a year in 2021, but will still take time out on Sunday to celebrate his own enchanting tale.

Kevin met RNLI Runner Claire McRae in 2015 over a fundraising effort at the Edinburgh Marathon. Claire was keen to pay back some of the debt owed to the Coastguard after her dad was rescued in a multi-agency response in the River Clyde over a decade ago while Kevin - who is behind the ‘wee guys’ coastguard team, a LEGO coastguard team tasked with promoting coastal safety all year round – got called in to help.

They stayed in touch and went on their first official date in 2017 and, the rest, as they say, is history.

Lecturer Claire relocated from Bishopton to the coast to allow Kevin, a full-time police officer with Police Scotland, to continue in his coastguard role and the two have even managed to survive the pressures of lockdown.

“There have been changes, Claire is working from home now, so we did take the opportunity of one of us being at home more to finally get a dog. So we’ve had a lockdown dog,” he joked. “We got him in April and we’ve called him Cooper.

He’s been important for us both, it’s helped us get out of the house on walks and we’ve done it together, he’s helped us bond even more.

“We’re both key workers,” Kevin added. “So lockdown’s not been that different for us in some ways – but we’ve both been very busy. It’s been a very busy start to the year, there have been some significant incidents and a lot of call outs.

The Coastguard remains a crucial thread which bonds Kevin and Claire together 

“When I look back in years to come at the pandemic, I think we will be very proud of what we have achieved. How we have to actually deliver our services have changed massively and we are working harder than normal because of it.

But we still pause and take the chances to celebrate when we can. And once we get through all of this, we will be looking at what the future holds for us both. In the short term, me and Claire are going to take Cooper for a walk and take time out on Sunday.

Provided his pager does not leap into action.

So just remember, Coastguards love flowers and chocolate too.

#LoveYourCoastguard

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