1st June 2018. It was announced today in the London Gazette that the National Coastwatch Institution Station at Needles has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
The NCI is a fully voluntary charity that mans The Needles lookout 365 days a year, keeping a watch on all mariners and craft both leisure and commercial.. The station currently has 65 volunteer watch keepers, male and female, who operate the lookout from 0900 to 1700 daily with extended hours during the summer months. The facility is an integral part of the search and rescue services for the Western Solent and is independently evaluated annually. Reporting directly to Solent Coast Guard, last year NCI Needles was involved in 25 marine incidents along with several land-based incidents.’
Uniquely among other National Coastwatch stations Needles Station is part of the safety and rescue cover for the world’s largest yacht race, The Round the Island, as well as the world’s largest walking festival “Walk the Wight” and also covers four marathon and half marathon runs. NCI Needles also supports the West Wight Sports & Community Centre Cross Solent and Needles Swims.
Needles NCI is developing a first responder capability, with defibrillator, providing assistance to the 300,000 people who visit the Needles site annually. Currently over half of the 65 watch keepers are trained first aiders and the intention is for all to become qualified.’
The photograph shows Station Manager Tony Stables & Deputy Station Manager Paddy Noctor