Page last updated at 15:39 GMT, Friday, 17 July 2009 16:39 UK

Accolade for helicopter crewman

Lt Cdr Martin Ford
Lt Cdr Martin Ford has flown with eight different naval squadrons

A helicopter crewman from Cornwall has become one the Royal Navy's most experienced search and rescue flyers.

Lt Cdr Martin "Florry" Ford, who lives in Goon Gumpas, Redruth, joined the navy in 1979 and began flying in 1983.

He has clocked up 5,000 flying hours and taken part in more than 500 search and rescue operations.

The crewman was awarded the Air Force Cross for his role in rescuing dozens of people when flooding devastated the Cornish village of Boscastle in 2004.

Most recently, Lt Cdr Ford received the Queen's Commendation for Bravery in the Air for a difficult rescue in the Scottish Highlands in March this year.

"I am lucky to undertake a job I really enjoy, it's challenging and you never know what's around the corner," he said.

Capt Graeme Mackay, commanding Officer of RNAS Culdrose, described the achievement as an "impressive milestone".

"It ranks him among a select few who are qualified on many helicopter types, flying all over the world on operations, so his career is a real inspiration to us all," he said.

Lt Cdr Ford has flown with eight different naval squadrons with the Fleet Air Arm.

He is currently based at HMS Gannet in Prestwick, Scotland.



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