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Rescue 03, also known as Gemma Ferguson, who volunteers as a Coastguard Rescue Officer with the Arran Coastguard Team, has been moved by the outpouring of support following a small accident which saw the tables being turned and her being on the receiving end of requiring assistance.
Gemma was assisting with a helicopter medical evacuation during the night and slipped on wet grass. The accident broke her ankle in two places but fortuitously for her she was with medically trained professionals and within just a few miles of the nearest hospital.
Messages of support, wishing her well on the official Arran Coastguard Team Facebook page and on her personal page, rapidly attracted a flurry of over 200 comments, all wishing her a speedy recovery.
The messages were from work colleagues and Coastguard rescue teams from all across Scotland and England, demonstrating the strong ‘family bond’ and camaraderie among the teams. Kind messages were received from Girvin, Mull, Craignure, Fleetwood, Exmouth, Newcastle, Jura, Southend, Port Ellen, Inveraray Coastguard rescue team and even the crew of rescue helicopter R199 took the time to wish her well.
Gemma said: ‘I’d just like to say a huge thank you to my coastguard colleagues, paramedics, doctors and nurses who looked after me. Also to everyone who has wished me a speedy recovery. Overwhelmed by everyone who has offered their help too, it means a lot! I’ll be back to my usual duties as soon as I’m fit. Looking forward to it!’
Gemma has been with the Arran Coastguard Rescue Team since February 2009 and will be back in action within a few months time once her cast has been removed and her ankle has had time to heal. She intends on using her ‘down time’ to study becoming a Suitably Qualified Person as a new qualification for her day job where she works at the local veterinary practice.
Coastguard rescue team members who volunteer their services assist with rescues from coasts, cliffs, water, mud and in searches for missing people. They also assist with dealing with coastal pollution and explosive hazards as well as working with emergency services and local authorities during emergencies. Volunteers need to pass rigorous training to qualify as a Coastguard Rescue Officer with all of the skills, equipment and training being provided for those that qualify. More information on volunteering with HM Coastguard can be found at https://www.gov.uk/volunteer-as-a-coastguard or by contacting your local area management team to find out if there are any volunteering opportunities.
The Arran Coastguard practice water rescues at Lochranza. No_B39coastguard01
Gemma Ferguson, second from left, with her Arran colleagues. No_B39coastguard02
The Arran Coastguard, including Gemma on the far right, practice rope techniques. No_B39coastguard03