Portland coastguard helicopter crew past and present were honoured at a ceremony on the isle.

Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset Angus Campbell unveiled a Portland stone plaque on the marina wall, which has been engraved with the names of all past and present crew members.

It marked the end of operations for the search and rescue helicopter after 22 years.

The service – which was attended by more than 80 guests including former crew members, mayors of nearby coastal towns such as Weymouth, Lyme Regis and Poole and MP Richard Drax - was watched by hundreds of people who gathered near the marina to show their support.

Portland Town Council organised a celebration outside the hangar, complete with entertainment, an ice cream stall and plenty of Portland flags to wave in appreciation.

The atmosphere was bittersweet, with many sad to see the helicopter go yet determined to recognise the life-saving work of crew members.

Mayor of Portland David Thurston, who has been organising the ceremony since January, said: “It went very well.

“It was very good to see it there in all its glory looking wonderful.

“It’s an enormous thing. “Everyone is very upset and we will miss it, but it was a fine opportunity to thank the crews and staff for what they have done over the years.

“It was good to see all of them there.” Cllr Sandy West added: “It went really well. There was absolutely loads of people there and it was nice to see the lads there who we’re used to waving at as they fly past in the helicopter.

“We all wave at the helicopter as it goes past so it was nice to have a chat with them.

“The stone is beautiful. “We were pleased to be able to say goodbye and acknowledge the guys, they really appreciated it.

“It’s important to have something permanent there to remember their outstanding bravery.”

On Friday, following a rescue demonstration, the helicopter took a final, low flight over Weymouth beach as the crew waved to the crowds below.

“It’s the end of an era,” said Cllr West