771 Naval Air Rescue

Cornish Coastal Rescue Award

771 Naval Air Squadron has been honoured with two awards at Pirate FM’s Local Heroes Awards in association with South West Bottled Gas.

The crew behind Cornwall’s lifesaving helicopters have been recognised for providing search and rescue services for over forty years. They were recognised with both the ‘Coastal Rescue Award’, and the overall ‘Winner of Winners’ award.

Based at RNAS Culdrose, the red and grey Sea King helicopters were a regular sight in the skies of Cornwall, helping to rescue thousands of people.

The Squadron was decommissioned in March, being replaced by a private service being operated from Newquay.

Andy Watts, Lieutenant Commander said: “We’re extremely pleased and quite surprised that we’ve won this award.

“We have been involved in search and rescue down here since 1974, so we hope that our impression has been good and we’ve done a good job”.

Andy reflected: “Missions can be a traumatic experience for the casualty, as the aircrafts are loud, dark and can experience bumpy conditions. Our mission is to get the casualty to hospital as fast as we can.

“When they arrive, and the patient grabs my hand, squeezes and mouth ‘thank you’ – that’s the best reward”.

The award was sponsored by Ann’s Cottage Surf Stores, and the Squadron were recognised in the ceremony held at Tregenna Castle Resort in St Ives.

Andy continued: “We must not forget the engineers who support us, all our support staff and Culdrose itself. Of course, we work closely with the other emergency services – we are part of a team.