Calshot RNLI crew member receives 30 years' long service medal
A CREW member of the Calshot RNLI team was presented with a long-service medal for 30 years of saving lives at sea
Mark Laughlin, known as Lofty, spent time as a youngster at the station as his father Bryan was one of the original crew when it was founded in 1970.
Mark said: "I’ve had the opportunity to work with many amazing people and would do it all again in a heartbeat.
"There have been moments when I’ve been frightened and after 30 years on the boat, my respect for the sea is stronger than ever."
Before he joined, Mark's ambitions to be a member of the crew took a back seat to his studies and a career as a mechanical engineer.
However, following a sailing trip with the then station mechanic Niall McDonald he was invited to become a member – and never looked back.
Some of his most memorable moments include his very first call out in Force 10 conditions, attending an incident on fireworks night which involved multiple casualties, and most recently helping the Isle of Wight ferry when it ran aground in fog near Cowes.
During his time on the crew, Mark has held positions including emergency mechanic, deputy second coxswain and in 2012 helm for both of the inshore lifeboats.
Outside of the RNLI, he spent many years in the communications industry, starting off installing cable TV and progressing to fiber optics.
He has also volunteered for 20 years as an NHS Community First Responder and in 2012 decided to make a career switch and join the ambulance service full-time. Joining initially as an emergency care assistant, he went on to qualify as a paramedic in 2019.
Mark, who is also a qualified launch vehicle driver, will continue to volunteer with the service.