A Bexhill volunteer who helped set up a national nautical charity was named in the New Year’s Honours list for services to the maritime community.
Leslie Quilty will receive a British Empire Medal for his work with the Maritime Volunteer Service (MVS), which he helped establish in 1994.
The 83-year-old retired teacher was a trustee for many years and has taught many youngsters seafaring skills as a mentor.
Mr Quilty, of Hastings Road, said he was very pleased to receive such an award which he never expected.
“I still trying to believe I’ve been given this award, I didn’t expect anything like this to happen at all and I’m obviously very grateful for whoever put me forward from our organisation,” he said.
The former St Richard’s Catholic College teacher was part of the Royal Navy Auxiliary Service (RNXS) until it was disbanded in 1994 due to funding cuts, but the 30 members did not want to quit so they set up the MVS.
The MVS provides seafaring skills training and serves communities in times of need, which Mr Quilty has been very much a part of for the past 22 years.
When the great-grandfather reached 65, he fought ageist rules forcing him to relinquish his role as a trustee until they were revoked.
Mr Quilty trains youngsters, including Scouts and Cadets, good seamanship and safe sailing at the local MVS base at Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne, as well as teaching yacht skills at his Bexhill home.
“One thing I am grateful for, obviously my wife and family are delighted, but really I feel I have received it for all the RNXS members who stayed and founded the MVS 22 years ago so I’m delighted with that,” he said.
David Hughes, of the Eastbourne MVS, said Mr Quilty’s award was merited after years of dedication to the charity.
“The whole unit is very happy and the MVS charity is delighted that he has got that, he is well known throughout the charity and we all think it’s well-deserved,” he said.
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