COASTGUARDS and their families turned out for a night to celebrate three volunteer Dorset lifesavers.

It was standing room only at the Royal Dorset Yacht Club as family, friends and colleagues gathered to pay tribute to the long service of three coastguard rescue officers.

Coastguards from the volunteer coastguards rescue teams, as well as colleagues from Portland Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre on Weymouth harbourside and the RNLI were there to show their support for volunteer coastguards Alan Hale, Malcolm Wright and also Mark Fagg.

Alan Hale was presented with a Valedictory Certificate for six years service with Wyke Regis Coastguard Rescue Team.

Wyke Regis Station Officer Mark Fagg received his 20 years long service medal and Malcolm Wright, who works as both a coastguard in the operations room and a volunteer with the Wyke Regis team, received his 40 years long service medal.

District Officer at Portland Coastguard Mark Rodaway presented Mr Fagg with his long service medal.

He said: “This requires 20 years of exemplary service and anyone that knows Mark will see he fits the criteria exactly.”

Mr Fagg joined the Wyke Regis team in 1993.

Next year he will be undertaking a full Ironman triathlon event incorporating a 2.4mile swim, 112 mile cycle and a marathon-length run.

Mr Fagg said: “I feel very proud to receive this award.”

He paid tribute to the Wyke Regis team and said they were a ‘unique bunch’ of people.

Acting Chief Coastguard Richard Martin presented Mr Wright’s 40 year long service medal. He said: “Forty years service to Her Majesty’s Coastguard is something very, very special.”

He said Mr Wright started his commitment to the coastguard in 1973 with the Portland Bill team before working with the Wyke Regis team and in 2001 he took over as Station Officer.

After retiring from teaching he joined the Portland MRCC as a watch officer while remaining as a volunteer at Wyke Regis. He will be retiring from the Wyke team at the end of this month but intends to stay working in the operations room until it closes at the end of next year.

Mr Wright said: “It is with enormous pride I’m here with so many friends and colleagues.”

Mr Fagg took over the role of Station Officer from Mr Wright, and Mr Wright paid tribute to him saying Mark was a ‘fantastic leader’.

But the biggest cheers of the night were reserved for the families of the coastguards for all their support and help over the years. Bouquets of flowers were presented to Mr Fagg’s wife Catherine and Mr Wright’s wife Jill to say thank you for all their support.