Tearful farewells at inshore rescue service
TWO members of the Gosport & Fareham Inshore Rescue Service have been praised for their long-term service.
At the group’s annual meeting last week, two outgoing members were awarded honourary lifetime membership in thanks for their years of hard work.
Chris Rudd, who joined the service as a 13-year-old cadet in 1977, stepped down from his position of senior helm after 12 years in charge of the service’s crew.
Mr Rudd, whose time on Gosport Independent Lifeboat has helped save many lives at sea, has been an active member for an incredible 40 years.
He said: ‘It is with sadness that I step down from a role I have loved for so many years.
‘But as I’ve now moved to Jersey it wasn’t possible to maintain my involvement to the level I have for 40 years.
‘I know the service is in great hands, though, and I wish the new senior helm the best of luck in his new position.’
Brian Pack – a member of GAFIRS for 27 years and a lifeboat helm for 13 of them – was appointed senior coxswain at the AGM.
He added: ‘Chris is a dedicated and determined leader who has given a vast part of his life to helping others.
‘It is a great honour to have been elected to pick up the reigns from him.’
Also awarded honourary lifetime membership at the meeting was outgoing fundraising officer Joyce Thomas.
Mrs Thomas has been in the role for 16 years and was instrumental in setting up the Lifeboat Lotto, which is now the services’ biggest source of income.
It has raised £250,000 for GAFIRS since it was introduced seven years ago.
GAFIRS chairman Keith Thomas said: ‘The work Joyce has put into the GAFIRS over those 16 years has been incredible.
‘Her dedication to raising vital funds, which help keep our independent lifeboats on the water and saving lives, has been remarkable, and we cannot thank her enough.’