Dedicated Felixstowe volunteer awarded prestigious service medal just months after scooping Stars of Suffolk award

Carol receiving her long service award from Tony Garbutt, with Felixstowe Coastguards Adrian Slim, D

Carol receiving her long service award from Tony Garbutt, with Felixstowe Coastguards Adrian Slim, Don Ryles, Phillip Pearce and Alasdair Nicol. Picture: PROMINENT PR - Credit: Archant

A Stars of Suffolk award winner has been presented with a special honour to mark two decades of service with Felixstowe coastguard.

Carol Lukins, who scooped the judge’s special award at the ceremony hosted by the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star last year, was given a long service medal by UK coastguard coastal area commander Tony Garbott at the weekend.

The volunteer, who recently celebrated her 60th birthday, travelled to London’s tower lifeboat station to receive her medal with five of her Felixstowe coastguard rescue colleagues.

These included Adrian Slim, Don Ryles, Phillip Pearce and Alasdair Nicol.

Carol was also able to spend time with the RNLI Thames lifeboat crew, an organisation she works closely with in her role.

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Collecting her award, she said: “I have spent twenty years doing something I absolutely love.

“For me it’s not a chore, it’s an honour. I work with some amazing fellow volunteers and to be able to make a difference to someone’s life makes me very lucky.

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“I am really thrilled to have been presented with my 20 years of service medal and to have my colleagues join me for the ceremony made it even more special.”

The 60-year-old, who lives and works in the Suffolk area, has dedicated more than half of her life to volunteering.

For a decade, she was a member of the Royal Navy auxiliary service, and for 15 years she was a first aider for the Red Cross.

She wears her coastguard pager 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and has been called out to more than 1,500 calls – around 80 a year – during her time as a volunteer.

Carol is the only woman on her team and has been ever since she began working there 20 years ago.

Throughout her time there, the 60-year-old has held the position of both deputy station officer and station officer, and has actively brought others into the service who say they have been influenced by her passion to make a difference.

Carol also worked as an independent custody visitor for six years, and was recognised for her outstanding service by the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner’s office in summer 2016.

Entries for this year’s Stars of Suffolk awards will open later this year.

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