Wells and Cley coastguard crew recognised

Wells Coastguard crew member Steve Willsher with his medal. Picture: Ian Burt

Wells Coastguard crew member Steve Willsher with his medal. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A life-saving team which dedicates its own time to protect the safety of others has been recognised for its actions after a devastating tidal surge wreaked havoc along the coast of Norfolk and Suffolk.

This time last year families were mopping up after the region suffered its worst floods in 60 years on December 5.

Record high tides caused major damage, but thanks to the brave efforts of many, no lives were lost.

Among those who helped prevent the crisis becoming a catastrophe were members of the Wells and Cley Coastguard crew.

That night, the team of 11 members had left their day jobs early to ensure they were on hand to assist rescue teams and those in need.

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The Eastern Daily Press has now presented the team with special campaign medals – limited edition lapel badges – in recognition of their efforts.

Steve Willsher, Wells and Cley station officer, said: 'We often don't get any recognition for what we do so when people realise what we do, whether it's someone saying 'thank you very much', a letter or in this case a pin badge, it's really nice and makes a difference to us.

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'To have some recognition is nice and kindly appreciated. It's also nice how everyone's been recognised. We all work together even if we are at separate units.'

Mr Willsher, who has been involved with the Wells and Cley Coastguard crew for 22 years, said he remembered December 5 last year vividly.

The 60-year-old builder from Burnham Market said: 'There was all this hype about the tidal surge but people were saying it's not going to be too bad. I was sitting there eating my lunch and it was rocking side to side violently. I thought to myself that this is going to be worse than people think.

'We stopped work and started to get ourselves ready for any emergency that came along. We are responsible for anybody's safety anywhere along the beach, we are there to help.'

More than £330,000 was raised to help those affected by the floods through the EDP Norfolk and Lowestoft Flood Appeal, run in conjunction with the Norfolk Community Foundation.

Wells flood wardens were among those awarded one of 312 grants from the appeal.

A donation of £2,500 contributed towards new radio equipment to help the flood wardens communicate more effectively in future flood incidents.

It is hoped the radio equipment will prevent a repeat of last year when poor mobile phone signals meant flood wardens had to use bicycles to get safety messages to people.

Do you have a Wells story? Email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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