A man from the island has become the Civil Defence Corps’ longest serving volunteer in the British Isles. 68-year-old Norman McBride celebrates 40 years as a volunteer for the organisation this year.

Norman joined the Civil Defence in February 1984 after hearing the emergency planning officer talking on the radio and calling out for volunteers.

Simply looking for something to keep him busy after leaving the army, it sparked a ‘lifelong passion for serving and protecting his community’.

Even after 40 years, Norman is still part of the Civil Defence response team in the island, having been trained in flood response, hill search and rescue, 4x4 driving, rest centre training and using various pieces of emergency equipment.

Recently qualifying for the second bar to his ‘long service medal’ after 39 years of service, he will be presented with it at a ceremony later this year. A spokesperson from the Civil Defence Corps said: ‘His most memorable training experience 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 hasn’t just been an asset for the Isle of Man, he’s 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, 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.’