Buckie Lifeboat crew named top Moray and Banffshire Heroes
THE crew of Buckie Lifeboat have been crowned the Heroes of Moray and Banffshire.
They were the inaugural winners of the new community award for their selfless devotion to saving lives while putting their own lives at risk every time they go to sea.
Joe Herd and Dave Grant collected the trophy at the Moray and Banffshire Heroes awards at a red carpet ceremony in Elgin last Thursday night.
The SPP Media Group awards, which were sponsored by Inverness Airport, celebrated unsung heroes across all walks of life.
Buckie RNLI won the emergency services award and at the end of the night were declared the first ever winners of the Hero of Heroes title.
Joe, the lifeboat operations manager, said: "I was speechless as we didn't expect this.
"I am in charge of 28 boys and girls who give up their spare time and when that pager goes off you never know what you will be dealing with.
"They will be chuffed to bits to win this award," added an emotional Joe.
The lifeboat has been launching from Buckie for 155 years and covers a coastal area from Macduff to Burghead and as far out as the Beatrice wind farm.
What makes the voluntary efforts of the crew all the more remarkable is that the organisation relies totally on legacies and public donations.
Joe said the commitment of the volunteers was second to none.
"Once they have gone through their extensive training programme their enthusiasm is fantastic," added Joe, who has worked in the fishing industry for 40 years and been a member of the lifeboat crew for the last 12 years.
Dave, the second mechanic on the lifeboat, said: "We are totally shocked to win this award."
The Moray Council bus driver has been with the lifeboat for 25 years.
"When I came out of the Army I knew I had to do something to keep my hand in and 25 years later I am still keeping my hand in," he said.
The awards at the Mansefield Hotel in Elgin were hosted by local media personality Nicky Marr and David Bourn, editorial director of SPP Media Group.
There was entertainment on the night from former Britain's Got Talent contestant Edward Reid.
The evening raised £1500 for Abbie's Sparkle Foundation, a local charity supporting children with cancer and other life-threatening conditions, with a grand prize of a luxury one night break for two at Bunchrew House Hotel near Beauly, which included Highland afternoon tea on arrival, evening dinner, full Highland breakfast and a bottle of Prosecco in the room.