A MINEHEAD GP has been recognised by the British Medical Association for his voluntary work in running the Minehead RNLI Crew.

The BMA is highlighting the voluntary work done by doctors, and is raising awareness of the benefits brought to communities, the NHS, and doctors themselves, by embarking on a new initiative; 'Doctors as Volunteers'.

The BMA has run a competition inviting doctors to share their experiences and create a poster promoting their cause.

Dr John Higgie, a Minehead GP, who volunteers as the RNLI's local operation manager will have his poster displayed at an exhibition this week.

He is on continuous call to respond to launch requests from coastguards, to authorise the boats to launch, to monitor operations while they are at sea, and to ensure the station is immediately readied for when the next call comes.

John said volunteering for the RNLI brings immense satisfaction.

He adeed: “Nearly every call involves helping people who have got into trouble, and the look of relief on their faces when a lifeboat arrives more than repays all the effort, training, and the risks inevitably involved in putting to sea in the bad weather.

“The RNLI builds the finest and safest lifeboats in the world for its 4,600 crewmen and its budget - unsupported by Government - is £150 million a year.

“In other words it's only volunteering that keeps the lifeboats afloat and saving lives at sea: what greater incentive could there be to get involved?”

Dr Ian Wilson, chair of the BMA's Representative Body, said: “The posters are just a taste of the many remarkable and moving stories we know our doctors are involved in.

“By showcasing individual experiences, we hope to encourage and inspire those considering voluntary work to take a chance and go for it.”