Beer coastguard trio retire

THREE Beer Coastguards with 113 years’ service between them, have officially retired.

A presentation was held at the Mariners’ Hall, Beer, on Saturday, to honour Phil Bastone, Alan Phillips and Terry Newbery.

Alan, 65, retired in April after 37 years. “It came and went so quickly, I enjoyed it very much,” he said. “Big thank yous to my family for putting up with me disappearing at all hours.”

Alan, from Sidmouth, was involved with a New Year’s Eve rescue last year. At around 10.30pm, a woman went over the cliffs at Peak Hill, falling about 50ft through brambles and branches, but was uninjured. The search and rescue helicopter from RAF Chivenor was called out, but as the winchman couldn’t get in close enough, a coastguard member was sent down to her.

He also helped provide safety cover on Branscombe beach during the MSC Napoli grounding, and was in the coastguard team at the Remembrance Day parade at the Cenotaph in 2005.

“That was emotional,” he said. “When the war widows marched past, it was very noticeable how young they were, and their children. I was proud that my children attended with me.”

He will continue as Sidmouth Lifeboat’s operations manager. “I’ve made a lot of good friends within the coastguard team and it’s been a privilege to give people assistance,” he said.

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Terry, from Southleigh, completes 31 years’ service in December. Phil, from Beer, reached 45 years in October. He said: “There’ve been some bad call-outs and some good ones. We’ve had a few we’ve regretted, but it’s always good if you get a result.”

Beer coastguard station manager Terry Hoare said about 140 people turned out to wish the trio well. “It’s been amazing working with them, their experience has helped a lot and we’ll really miss them.”