A MAN who holds the St John Bronze medal for Valour has been presented with the Barry Town Mayor’s award at the Memorial Hall.

Gerry Adams, 70, of Barry, was awarded the honour by out-going mayor, Cllr Janice Charles at the Barry Town Council mayor inauguration ceremony on Monday, May 13.

Mr Adams, a retired occupational health nurse for Dow (formerly Corning), whose St John medal is believed to be the only one in the country for a sea rescue, marks his 60th year of volunteering this year.

Mr Adams said he had been nominated by first responder, scout and Royal British Legion, Barry, volunteer Brian Foley.

He said: “I was really pleased and honoured to have been put forward and receiving the award was a very proud moment.

“It was not just for me, but it’s more for my family who have been with me all through this journey.”

Mr Adams 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.”