Surfer, lifesaver, responder and Rotarian Barrie Charlesworth from Braunton is passionate about helping to save lives
Barrie Charlesworth from Braunton has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to lifesaving.
Barrie, 70, was one of the earliest civilian volunteers with the then North Devon Surf Lifesaving Club, which was set up in 1962.
In fact, he was recruited before that at age 15 by the police, who set up the first life saving club in North Devon.
The North Devon club divided to become Woolacombe and Croyde clubs.
Barrie is still a member of the Croyde and Saunton Sands clubs and actively involved in training members.
A former emergency responder, through his membership with Braunton Caen Rotary, he has carried out numerous Heartstart courses for the British Heart Foundation, training some 600 people in four years.
Plus he has been part of a group within Braunton Caen Rotary working to get defibrillators in 17 locations across North Devon, with eight achieved so far, as well as helping other groups and people to place them.
He was among the small group of pioneers who helped kick start the North Devon surfing scene in the early 1960s and he said in those days surfing and surf lifesaving always went together.
Of receiving his BEM, he said: “I have never done anything on my own, it has always been as part of a team.
“I am very pleased, but I was not expecting it. You are a member of a club and you work with other people, it’s not just me, it’s loads and loads of people.”
His latest work is as part of a Resilience Group, with 17 people around Devon being trained to work alongside the blue light services in the event of a national flooding disaster, or even in Europe.
Barrie has been married to Christine for 35 years and added: “She has been as much a part of all this, she lets me go down to the beach and play in the sea.”
They have three children – Charley, David and Hayley.