'Honoured, privileged, pride, lifetime opportunity', these are just some of the words used to describe the feeling at being selected to represent HM Coastguard at the Coronation.
Dayle Jones, operational support officer for HM Coastguard, and Coastguard Rescue Officer Kevin Moran will lead the marching detachment made up of 8 women and 11 men from all four corners of the UK.
“We put out a call internally for interest when we found out we were invited to take part, and it came flying in,” he said. “It’s been a hard process to decide – everyone would have been amazing – but we’re delighted with the team we have.
“We’ve been able to pick people from both operational and non-operational roles, a good mix of men and women and a good mix of nationalities from the UK too.”
The group will come together several days ahead of the Coronation to train before the team will be called to muster at the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Fareham for a full kit inspection. They will then join up with other members of the CSC in London for further training.
Coastal Operations Area Commander for Northern Ireland, Robert Steventon said: “To be selected to represent His Majesty’s Coastguard at the first Coronation since 1953 is just unbelievable.
“I know that there were over 200 people in for it and I feel for anyone who didn’t get it or are on the reserve list. I will make sure that I do my best to represent those people as well.”
Emma Gasston, Staff Officer – Inquiry, added: “A coronation of a monarch marks a moment in history which has different symbolic meanings, but impacts everyone in both the commonwealth as well as the UK.
“I look forward to presenting a positive representation of HM Coastguard in the public sphere where we can promote our work, ethos and dedication to our service and the Realm.
“It is a day for us all to come together as a community from varied backgrounds, cultures, and services to celebrate the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and this momentous occasion.”
Meanwhile Llansteffan Coastguard Rescue Officer Roger Howells won’t easily forget the moment he found out he had been selected, as he mirrors the steps taken by his own father at the late Queen’s Coronation in 1953.
“I could not believe my luck in being selected, I had just returned from assessing search dogs in Malta and the first e-mail I checked was to tell me the brilliant news,” he said.
“When it had all sunk in, it was then all thoughts were to prepare my uniform which I hope is up to the required standard. It is such an honour to take part in the Coronation as Prince Charles was my Colonel in Chief during my time in the Parachute Regiment and my father also took part in Queen Elizabeth first Coronation.”
Deputy Station Officer at the Tiree Coastguard Rescue Team in the Inner Hebrides agrees that it is special to have the chance to represent their section of the MCA.
She said: “I’m feeling very humbled to have this opportunity to represent the Tiree Team and volunteer Coastguards in such a historical event.”
Coastguard Rescue Officer in Bangor, Northern Ireland, Ian Drakeley said that he spent nearly 24 years in the Royal Navy and 16 years and counting in the Coastguard. He said: “Having been selected to represent HMCG at his Majesty's coronation is probably the proudest moment in my careers in both the Royal Navy and HM Coastguard.
Alex Smith, Maritime Commander at Belfast Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) said that, after serving the late Queen for more than 30 years, it was a ‘real honour’ to have the opportunity to show his allegiance to the new king.
“I served Queen Elizabeth II for over 30 years and the opportunity to show my allegiance to King Charles III will hopefully underscore my commitment to public service in the UK.”
RAF veteran Steve Cox, Senior Maritime Operations Officer at the Humber MRCC, shared his feelings of ‘honour’.
“Since the age of 17 I have served the monarchy, I spent 23 years as a member of HM Forces serving at home and overseas and, since leaving the military, have served in HM Coastguard for a further eight and a half years.
“I am proud to wear my uniform every day and look forward to representing the agency at the King's Coronation.”
Claire Barnes, Coastguard Rescue Officer with New Quay Coastguard Rescue Team in Wales, said: “I’m truly honoured at being selected to represent such a professional organisation. I have been very impressed by the training and opportunities to specialise available within the MCA, but this once in a lifetime opportunity, I could have never foreseen.
“I’m so very proud and excited at being involved in this tremendous event and feel that I’m not only representing my colleagues but also my small village in West Wales.”
Richard Brighton, Maritime Operations Officer at MRCC Holyhead said: “It is an immense honour and privilege to be selected to represent the MCA at King Charles' Coronation; one which gives me immense pride to wear the uniform of HM Coastguard at this historic event.”
Coastguard Rescue Officer Mervyn Swabey at Padstow, who will this year celebrate his 40th anniversary in the Coastguard Rescue Service, said: “I do not have any military experience and have not had any training in marching, since I was in my teenage years, where I was in the sea cadet core and the Air cadets!
“But I am looking forward to putting on my Coastguard uniform, as I have done for the past four decades, and taking part in a national moment.”
Caroline Kernaghan, Team Leader at Belfast MRCC, said: “It is such an honour to be selected to represent the Coastguard at the King’s Coronation, to be a part of it and the celebration is something I will remember for the rest of my life.
“Buckingham Palace said that the Coronation will reflect the monarch's role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry. I am grateful to be able to be part of something so special.”
Shetland MRCC-based Team Leader Gary Harris said: “It is an honour and a privilege to be selected to represent HM Coastguard.”
Senior Coastal Operations Officer for the Hebrides Kathrine Duffin said: “Delighted and honoured to be chosen to represent HMCG on this historic occasion and really looking forward to it.”
Meanwhile Network Commander at the JRCC, Matt West said he is also honoured to be selected. “I’m looking forward to the experience and representing HMCG, a real one-off opportunity,” he added.
Deal Coastguard Rescue Team member Lisa Keates and Senior Maritime Operations Officer at the JRCC Amanda Crofts said they were ‘honoured and privileged’ to be selected.
Maritime Operations Officers Sarah King and Kenny Mackay, MRCC Milford Haven Team Leader Ieuan Williams and Senior Maritime Operations Officer Craig Masson will also take part. The ceremony at Westminster Abbey will start at 11am after the largest ceremonial operation in 70 years with the procession from Buckingham Palace.