A MAN who holds the St John Bronze medal for Valour, believed to be the only one in the country for a sea rescue, attended a royal garden party recently.

Gerry Adams, 69, of Barry, attended the Buckingham Palace function, on May 15, prior to the Royal Wedding.

Mr Adams, a retired occupational health nurse for Dow (formerly Corning), is looking forward to 2019 and marking his 60th year of volunteering to rescue or look after people.

He began volunteering as a 10-year-old cadet with the St John Ambulance Brigade and eventually attained the rank of nursing officer.

During his 25 years with the Brigade they set up a Surf Life Saving Division.

The dad-of-four said: “It was rather a funny start to this venture because 12 of us stepped forward and nine couldn’t even swim.

“Under the guidance of the late commander Charles Thomson, we learnt to swim at Atlantic College and in 1966 the division was patrolling Whitmore Bay.

“In 1971 I was awarded the St John bronze medal for Valour for a free swim rescue.

“This is normally done by a team or lifeboat, but neither were immediately available and I did what any other of the team would have done in the same circumstances.”

Mr Adams then joined the Barry Dock Lifeboat, serving 18 years on the ‘sharp end’ and 18 years as press officer retiring from the RNLI in 2014.

He said: “I was awarded the RNLI Statuette for services rendered and have certificates stating that 95 lives were saved from ’shipwreck’.

“Before I retired from the RNLI, I became a Welsh Ambulance Service (NHS) Trust community first responder and I aim to carry on as long as I have the mental and physical ability.

“As well as my voluntary work I started training to become a nurse at Llandough Hospital.

“I retired last year but have kept my registration ‘live’ until 2019 which will give me 50 years.”

Mr Adams attended the garden party with his wife Jill.

He said: “It was a real honour to be invited in recognition of my voluntary service to the Barry community and further afield when on holidays.

“I attended with my wife Jill who has fully supported me since we have been together, for over 40 yrs. I feel that next year will be my 60th year, but I will carry on as long as I can and allowed.

“I feel the great support from my wife Jill and four children was immense.”