The award, which was open to people across the PO and SO postcode area, aims to celebrate the outstanding contributions that unsung heroes make in our local community.
A highly decorated ex-RNLI member, Frank has provided a one man rescue service covering Chichester Harbour, Langstone Harbour, in addition to Bracklesham and Hayling Bays since 1984. Having paid for the construction of Hayling Rescue 25 years ago, up until 2010 he financed all the costs through his own pension fund. Still today the service is self funded with the occasional charitable donation received from the local boating community.
Frank lives aboard the Hayling Rescue boat for most of the year, providing round the clock cover. He is directly involved with around 200 rescues every year, clocking up some 600 engine hours in the process.
L&S Waste Management managing director, Mick Balch, said: “A number of people came forward with nominations for Frank, and for us he stood out as a deserving winner. Frank Dunster gives his time freely and has dedicated the best part of his life to helping others. We are delighted to announce him as the recipient of our first ever Local Hero award and I hope our donation will make a difference to his Hayling Rescue service for the remainder of this season and beyond.”
The award winner was selected by a team of judges, including Hampshire’s very own local hero, Brian Wood MC. Brian is a former Colour Sergeant of the Hampshire based Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in combat following his tour of Iraq.
Explaining his choice, L&S Local Heroes campaign ambassador, Brian Wood MC, said: “Frank epitomises the spirit of what a local hero truly means. For over 40 years he has demonstrated incredible selfless commitment and humility. Choosing a winner from the sheer volume of entrants was by no means straightforward, but ultimately, the judges were looking for individuals who have gone above and beyond in their pursuit to help others. Frank certainly fits that role.”
Mick Balch continued: “We would like to thank everyone who has put someone forward for consideration for our Local Heroes campaign, and of course the nominees themselves for their amazing efforts in our community. It’s been a humbling experience to hear of the everyday acts of courage, commitment, generosity and care that we see in the community in which we live.”
You can find out more about Frank Dunster and donate to his Hayling Rescue charity here: https://haylingrescue.com/about/