Isle of Man Civil Defence volunteer Norman McBride becomes longest serving in the British Isles

Norman McBride has been volunteering for the Civil Defence for almost 40 years. Credit: Isle of Man Government

A man "looking for something to keep him busy" after leaving the army has become the longest-serving civil defence volunteer in the British Isles.

Norman McBride, 68, has spent 40 years working for the Isle of Man's Civil Defence Corp after hearing an advert calling for volunteers on the radio in February 1984.

What began as a way to occupy him after leaving the army soon sparked a lifelong passion for serving and protecting his community.

Four decades later and he is still an integral part of the Island’s volunteer response team, trained in flood response, hill search and rescue, 4x4 driving, rest centre training and using various pieces of emergency and lifesaving equipment.

He qualified for the second bar to his Long Service Medal after 39 years’ service, and will be presented with it at a ceremony later in 2024.

His most memorable training experience though was being winched from the Ben-my-Chree by an RAF Sea King Helicopter as part of an exercise for Blackpool emergency planning services.

Norman McBride met with Her Majesty the Queen during her visit to the Isle of Man. Credit: Isle of Man Government

Norman has also joined national emergency volunteer contests and skills sharing schemes across the UK and with the Eire Civil Defence in Kilkenny.

He has assisted in some of the most significant Island events over the last 40 years including the ‘big snow’ of 2013, numerous missing people searches and five aircraft crashes.

On qualifying for his long-service bar, Norman said: 'I’m very proud to receive recognition of my service.

"Volunteering has let me feel useful, and to give back to our Island community and be part of something bigger.

"I’ve also made some incredible memories and many good friends throughout the years.

"I would absolutely encourage anyone to become a volunteer - the sense of accomplishment you get in supporting people in need is unbeatable."

Minister for Justice and Home Affairs, Jane Poole-Wilson MHK, said: 'What an incredible achievement. Norman has had a remarkable journey embracing the spirit of volunteering that keeps our community strong. Congratulations on 40 years of making a real impact."

Civil Defence volunteers train on a Wednesday evening at Tromode and as well as responding to emergencies they support the community at events throughout the year.

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