Coastguard rescue officer awarded BEM in New Year Honours list

A coastguard rescue officer who is retiring after more than 40 years of service has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours list.

Martin Rayner signed up as an auxiliary coastguard in April 1980 and went on to play a key role in more than 2,000 rescues near the Isle of Wight.

He volunteered with the Scouts for 17 years, as well as with the Isle of Wight Youth Concert Band for 17 years, and helped his local community during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I’m really honoured,” Mr Rayner said, who was awarded the BEM for services to maritime safety.

“My father was in the service before me so between us we have been a part of the coastguard family for around 70 years.

“Being a coastguard rescue officer for the last 42 years has been a way of life for me and my family.

Colleagues paid tribute to Martin Rayner (PA)
Colleagues paid tribute to Martin Rayner (PA)

“I have had a fantastic time in the service, feeling that I have given something back to the community.

“My family have supported me throughout and I couldn’t have done it without them.”

James Potter, Ventnor Coastguard Rescue Team’s station officer, said Mr Rayner would be missed by the whole team.

“He’s a coastguard that many have and do look up to with his experience and professional attitude,” Mr Potter said.

“Achieving this great milestone is something very special indeed. We wish him a long, healthy and happy retirement.”