A lifeguard supervisor who has been saving lives at sea for 45 years is one of five RNLI volunteers nationally to be recognised by the Queen.

Martyn Ward, from St Agnes, was made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the New Year Honours list.

He is a Carrick Lifeguard supervisor, as well as the deputy launching authority/water safety volunteer for St Agnes Lifeboat Station.

Martyn is described as being an integral part of the lifesaving community on the Cornish coast ever since he got his first job as a lifeguard in 1977 – firstly with Carrick District Council Lifeguard Service before the RNLI took it over in 2002, when he was appointed lifeguard supervisor. Since then, he has been involved in thousands of rescues, often putting his own safety at risk to save others.

Under his supervision, the RNLI lifeguard team has dealt with more than 22,000 incidents and saved thousands of lives. Martyn was also a cadet at the St Agnes Surf Life Saving Club in the late 60s and continues to volunteer for the club where he has trained more than 200 people.

Outside of lifeguarding, Martyn has been the volunteer deputy launching authority (DLA) at RNLI St Agnes since 2006. In 2015, he took on another volunteer role as water safety officer, developing prevention programmes to educate people about the dangers in and around water.

Martyn said: "I’d like to accept this award, not just for myself, but also on behalf of the community; for all of those who over the years have contributed in making our seas, coast and beaches safer, whether they’re a member of the public giving others safety advice, our coastguard team, on our RNLI lifeboats, an RNLI lifeguard or a surf life saving club member – voluntary and professional side-by-side.

"Lifesaving and helping to deliver a top-class lifeguard service whilst still contributing to sea safety has been my life’s ambition."


Also honoured from the RNLI were Roger Cohen, lifeboat operations manager at Brighton Lifeboat Station and Newhaven Lifeboat Station, who received an MBE; Jim Mackie, chair of the lifeboat management group at Southend-on-Sea Lifeboat Station, made an MBE; Dorothy Charnley, shop manager at Blackpool Lifeboat Station, awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM); and a volunteer for 37 years, David Forshaw, now deputy launching authority in Lytham St Annes, awarded the BEM.

RNLI chief executive Mark Dowie said: "I am delighted to see some of our volunteers from across the whole RNLI recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list for their significant contribution to saving lives at sea this year. These five RNLI people embody the charity’s values of selflessness, courage, dependability and trustworthiness in everything they do, and it is particularly pleasing to see one of our longstanding lifeguards recognised in the 20th anniversary year of the RNLI lifeguard service.

"On behalf of everyone at the RNLI, my congratulations to you all and my thanks to our thousands of other volunteers who go above and beyond for our lifesaving charity every day of the year."