A COASTGUARD who has spent more than 40 years saving stricken seafarers is among Dorset residents who have been recognised in the New Year’s Honours list.

Malcolm Wright, a watch officer in the Portland Coastguard ops room, is to receive an MBE for services to HM Coastguard.

Mr Wright, of Weymouth, who is Portland Coastguard’s longest serving coastguard, said he was ‘humbled’ to receive the honour.

He started out as a volunteer rescue officer but now works in the control room at Weymouth helping to co-ordinate rescues.

“It’s such an honour but it really isn’t something I could have received without the help of the team,” he said.

Dad-of-two Mr Wright began his coastguard career based at Portland Bill station and joined the Wyke Regis Coastguard Rescue Team, becoming the station officer in 2001.

He volunteered as a key member of the 12-man search and rescue team while teaching at Portland Secondary School, now the Royal Manor campus of IPACA.

Mr Wright has been involved in a number of high-profile rescues over the years, including an incident nine years ago in which 150 people aboard yachts were rescued from Weymouth Bay after their vessels capsized in strong winds.

He said: “Everyone was rescued and just one person had a slight injury. What we thought was going to be a nasty incident turned out incredibly well.

“Some days you come home and think ‘I made a difference’.”

District officer for Portland Maritime Rescue and Co-ordination Centre, Mark Rodaway, said “I’m absolutely delighted that Malcolm’s exemplary service over 40 years has been recognised by his appointment as a Member of the most excellent order of the British Empire.”

Mr Wright recently retired from working as a member of the Wyke Regis Coastguard Rescue Team and will take retirement next year when the coastguard operations room on Weymouth harbourside closes.

However, he plans to continue with his love of life-saving work by taking on a voluntary role with the RNLI.

Susan Hough, chief executive of the Dorset County Football Association, will be awarded with an MBE for services to women’s and disability football.

Mrs Hough said: “It’s absolutely wonderful news, and I feel very overwhelmed.”

For more than 20 years, the former head of PE at Blandford School has helped support and develop women’s football.

Debbie Simpson, who became Dorset Police’s Chief Constable in January 2013, is awarded the Queen’s Police Medal.

She said: “I am immensely humbled.

“It remains a very great privilege to have the opportunity to work with the terrific people in the force.”

Dorset’s Lord Lieutenant – the Queen’s representative in the county – becomes a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO).

Valerie Lane-Fox Pitt-Rivers is retiring on her 75th birthday on January 23.

The CVO is given by the Queen to people who have personally served her or the monarchy.

Mrs Pitt-Rivers said: “It is a great honour and I am delighted.

“It has been such a privilege to be Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset since 2006 and I have met the most interesting people and have been to such a lot of interesting places.

“With the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, I have seen the success of Dorset businesses, and with The Queen’s Awards for Voluntary Service, I have met wonderful voluntary groups who are the backbone of our society. “It is so good to see these volunteers recognised.”