Peter's top award

PUBLISHED: 02:01 09 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:08 10 June 2010

AN Exmouth coastguard is only one of three people in the country to receive a prestigious award presented by the Prince of Wales. Exmouth volunteer coastguard manager Peter Pritchard, 58, was invited to Clarence House, where Prince Charles, Honorary Commo

AN Exmouth coastguard is only one of three people in the country to receive a prestigious award presented by the Prince of Wales.Exmouth volunteer coastguard manager Peter Pritchard, 58, was invited to Clarence House, where Prince Charles, Honorary Commodore of Her Majesty's Coastguard, gave him an Honorary Commodore Award - the highest honour a coastguard can receive.Mr Pritchard and Mark Rodaway, a co-ordinator from Portland Coastguard, received the awards for synchronising coastguard teams as the MSC Napoli drama unfolded after the ship was beached at Branscombe.It is only the second time the Honorary Commodore Award has been granted in its 25-year history.Later this month, Exmouth coastguard station officer Alan Lockyear will be presented with the Chief's Commendation for his team's involvement with the Napoli.Mr Pritchard was able to take two guests to the private Clarence House ceremony - his mother Phyllis Pritchard, 80, a former warden on the Burnside estate, and his partner Pat Lane, 57, who works in the oncology department at Taunton's Musgrove Park Hospital."The Napoli was a once-in-a-career job," said Mr Pritchard. "It was extremely challenging and quite complex in its nature. We saw the whole range of human nature. We did suffer quite a lot of intimidation and verbal abuse. "There were people who turned up in the spirit of Whisky Galore, and there were other people who were nothing more than hardened criminals and organised gangs."There was immense satisfaction in dealing with a job like that. It's nice to see I can cut the mustard!"The Honorary Commodore Award is given when the coastguard involvement has been of a 'particularly meritorious nature'.Mr Pritchard and Mr Rodaway's awards were in recognition of their 'outstanding tactical command, leadership and on-scene co-ordination' to restore public order and safety on the beach and surrounding area at Branscombe, following the beaching of containers from the vessel. They also recognised their untiring efforts in the days and weeks afterwards in support of the salvage operation.Rod Johnson, chief coastguard, said: "The Honorary Commodore Award is the highest award a coastguard officer can receive for outstanding conduct. Mark and Peter have received this award because of their outstanding contribution to the success of the operation, demonstrating commitment, leadership and adaptability to the highest standard.

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