Local coastguard hero honoured for going 'above and beyond' in pandemic

A local coastguard hero has been honoured with a county award after being nominated by the parish council for going 'above and beyond' to help the community during Covid lockdowns.

Robert Thurkettle, a coastguard rescue officer based at Shingle Street, was nominated for the Suffolk Heroes Award by the clerk of Bawdsey Parish Council, after donating at least 200 hours as a Community First Responder with the East Of England Ambulance Service.

The awards  created in response to the challenges of the past 18 months  celebrated the amazing individuals and teams across Suffolk, who have given so much to their local communities during the pandemic.

Rob Thurkettle with his Certificate of Recognition

They were administered by the county's seven MPs, with each MP then selecting their heroes from each of their constituencies; and Rob's contributions in the Suffolk Coastal constituency were deemed well worthy of recognition.

Rob said he underwent 'intensive training' in preparation for the voluntary role, which he carried out alongside his coastguard duties.

He said: "It's not why I did it, but I am very proud to have received this award and very happy that my actions have been recognised."
    
Rob (right) volunteering as a Community First Responder

Coastal Suffolk MP Therese Coffey said: “I was delighted to present Robert with a Suffolk Heroes Award.

"As well being a Coastguard and very active in the local community, on the Parish Council and a governor of the local school, during the pandemic he volunteered to use his first aid skills to become a first responder, easing the pressure on the NHS.

"Rob is someone that Suffolk Coastal residents rely on and he thoroughly deserves the accolade of Suffolk Hero.”

Suffolk MPs received a flood of nominations of individuals and teams the public felt deserving of recognition for their efforts.

Award winners ranged from vaccination volunteers, NHS frontline workers, members of care staff and some fantastic volunteers supporting local charities.

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