22nd May 2022. Jon Gifford OBE was born in Gibraltar in 1929 and was educated at Kings School, Bruton and Peter Symonds College, Winchester. He served with the Royal Tank regiment for 15 years and retired as a Captain but remained in the Territorial Army with the Yeomanry.
A career in engineering followed, working as an Export Manager and gaining two Queens Awards for Export, and he then formed his own export company supplying heavy equipment.
He retired to Devon in 1997 and joined the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) as a watchkeeper at NCI Prawle Point in 1999. His abilities were immediately recognised, and he was soon elected as the Station Manager, followed shortly afterwards by election to the Board of Trustees.
In 2002 he was elected as Chairman of NCI and as such, Jon oversaw the opening of some 25 NCI lookout stations resulting in a very significant expansion of the Charity to many parts of England and Wales
His hard work resulted in a group of Cornish Stations being among the first to gain the Queens Award for Voluntary Service, and in 2006 he received a personal Nationwide Award for Voluntary Endeavour.
In 2011 Jon was appointed Honorary President of NCI and the following year he was awarded the Order of the British Empire. As Honorary President, he remained a very active, stalwart member of the Charity, visiting stations far and wide and providing inspiration to a new generation of watchkeepers.
Jon was one of the prime movers in the early days of NCI and much of our current success owes a great deal to his early influences.
Jon retired from NCI in 2021.