Coastguards turn out to honour one of their long-serving team
- Credit: Ron Lovick
A man well known in the town and seafaring community has been honoured with a presentation marking half a century of voluntary service.
Volunteer coastguard Clive Williment was the guest of honour at a special evening at the Pier Hotel in Gorleston on Tuesday, March 20 – also attended by the Mayor, Cllr Kerry Robinson-Payne.
Before joining HM Auxiliary Coastguard service at Gorleston in 1968, aged 20, Mr Williment worked at Jewson’s timber yard as crew on the day passenger steamer Royal Sovereign and at the age of 18 he had joined Great Yarmouth Trinity House pilot service as a relief pilot boat coxswain.
He also developed an early association with Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Lifeboat as his father Paul, was coxswain in 1950s and Clive served as shore crew and went to sea himself a few times before the pilot service asked him to choose between the two!
As he also often visited the old full-time Gorleston Coastguard on South Pier, he was invited to join the auxiliary service. Training was quarterly - solely breeches buoys - and notified a fortnight in advance by postcard!
By 1988, when Mr Williment received his first long service and good conduct medal, the auxiliary service, in addition to vessels in distress, was more often involved in missing person incidents, especially children, and beach searches often instigated by the local council lifeguard.
But there were major ship rescues assisted by Wessex, later Sea King, helicopters from RAF Coltishall. However, on night of April 25 1981, due to gale force easterly winds neither of these could help the stricken 750 ton grain ship Wegro, stranded on a sandbank on Great Yarmouth south beach.
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Mr Williment was part of the team, in foul weather conditions, who helped to bring ashore five crew members and two boys. The wind had been so strong it took three attempts to shoot the rocket line onto the ship – the final shot shattering the wheelhouse window.
At his presentation he was described as always being calm, stoical, helpful, reliable, good humoured and very knowledgeable about met and tides and local sea, Broads and port conditions.