A paramedic who joined the Lyme Regis RNLI crew eight years ago has passed out in the role of the helm in the town’s lifeboat.

After two years of extensive training, father of four Mark Ellis, 41, now joins six other helms taking command of the lifeboat, named Spirit of Loch Fyne, when coastguards request the launch of the vessel to answer an emergency.

He will be responsible for the safety of his fellow volunteer crew members and the lifeboat itself when they go to sea.

His training covered many aspects of boat management including anchoring, towing and a wide range of search and rescue work.  The final assessment by an RNLI trainer involved two hours at sea.

Mr Ellis said: “I am very pleased with what I have achieved, and it has only just sunk in that I have passed out in such a vital role.”

His son Sam, 22, is also part of the RNLI family, being the youngest crew member and recently qualified as the lifeboat’s first navigator.

Tim Edwards, the crew’s senior helm, said: “I am delighted to welcome Mark aboard as a member of the team of helms. He has shown much enthusiasm and commitment in what is a very important role.”