Beer Coastguard bids farewell to deputy station manager Paul
- Credit: Archant
Beer Coastguard has bid a fond farewell to its deputy station manager, who has retired after 37 years of service.
Paul Driver has clocked up more than 850 missions for the team since he joined in 1980.
The 65-year-old was the last remaining member of the coastguard’s ‘rocket team’, which would assist in rescues by firing a rocket with a line attached to pull those in distress out of danger.
He joins a long line of crewmen who have served more than 30 years with the team.
Paul said: “The whole idea why I joined was to help someone in need. I shall miss the camaraderie - we all got along - but, living in Beer, I shall know what is going on. I will definitely miss it, but I’m not going to be sad because I know I have done my bit and I have achieved what I want to do which is to help someone.”
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The semi-retired blacksmith has acted as deputy station manager for 14 years and has received three commendations from Her Majesty’s Coastguard across his career.
The first was in 1996 during the rescue of a base jumper whose parachute became snagged on Beer Head 150ft above the ground.
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He was also awarded a commendation for his part in the MSC Napoli operation and for rescuing a man who fell 150ft down Peak Hill in Sidmouth.
“I think the biggest thing of all is knowing you have helped to safe someone’s life - that is what it is all about,” said Paul.
The Beer resident added the biggest changes over the years have been the advances to coastguard equipment.
Station manager Terry Hoare praised his deputy and said the service would miss his ‘local knowledge and experience.’
Terry added: “We are quite lucky in Beer that we get people like Paul - they can do 37 years-plus. We seem to get people that are committed and they obviously like it.”
The coastguard will host a retirement event for Paul at the Dolphin Hotel on March 24.