The Chairman of Arbroath Lifeboat Management Group, Ian Ballantyne MBE, has received the RNLI’s Bronze Badge award in a surprise ceremony.
The certificate, in recognition of everything Ian has done for the Institution, was handed over by Alex Smith, Lifeboat Operations Manager, in front of members of the crew and volunteers.
When he turned up at the station, on Tuesday, November 17, Ian had no idea he was to receive the prestigious award. He told the Herald: “This has come as a total surprise!”
Ian went on to explain his history with the Lifeboat Station, saying: “I got involved back in the late ‘90s through my friendship with my predecessor, Inglis Goodfellow, who was a neighbour of mine. Meeting the crew and seeing what work they do is inspiring. The conditions they go out in for some “shouts” are unbelievable. The job has changed over the years and the younger crews are now going out and picking up bodies, which is a very hard thing to deal with.
“Currently, we’re working hard to get a new boat and hopefully that will happen within two years, as the RNLI have agreed in principle. The Inchcape, was 22 years old in August and we are waiting on news on being allocated a boat. The boats are built by the RNLI and there are only 11 or 12 of the new design in operation. They are undergoing launch and recovery trials from a cradle which is driven into the sea.
“Hopefully, a new boat might also lead to a new station.”
When he was asked how many years in total he had been working with the RNLI, Ian was at a loss for the exact figure and turned to the crew. “How long have I been here, guys?” he asked, receiving the reply, “about half an hour” amid much laughter. Smiling, Ian added: “I enjoy being here with the crew and the camaraderie is great. I’m going to keep going as long as possible as I thoroughly enjoy it!”