Saving lives at sea takes more than just the right equipment and the RNLI has recognised the selfless dedication of an Anstruther volunteer to the local crew.
At the forefront of the shouts, calls and saves are often those in the boats but Gary Hughes has given a power of work for three decades quietly behind the scenes.
He was awarded with a long service award at a ceremony at the RNLI Scottish Headquarters in Perth last month for his 30 years of continuous service.
He first joined Anstruther Lifeboat on July 1, 1986 as a shore crew member giving his time to help in the safe launch and recovery of the then all-weather lifeboat ‘The Doctors’.
In 1991, Gary and the crew welcomed in the current Mersey class lifeboat, ‘Kingdom of Fife’. And in 2003, after 17 years’ service, Gary was also part of the introduction of the new D-Class ‘Rotary Centenary Queen’.
With the Shannon class boat due to arrive at the station in the coming years, over his time Gary will have seen the arrival of three all-weather vessels – and with 17 years service still in him, he could see more!
Not one to shy away from the housekeeping duties, Gary often pops in on his days off work to keep the station in prime condition by replenishing the boat food stocks, emptying the bins and even polishing the propellers.
Alex Purves, station second coxswain, said: “The time, effort and commitment that Gary has shown over the years is nothing short of remarkable. The pride he takes in the station shows the type of character he is. The immense sense of pride we all see when he is representing the RNLI has had a massive effect on our station and his passion and commitment is a standard bearer for our new crew members.”