The man who watched the seas off Blackhall for almost 48 years

John Laing who gave 48 years service as a coastwatcher

John Laing who gave 48 years service as a coastwatcher

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John Laing gave decades of sterling service to the people of Blackhall.

Perhaps you remember the man who, in May 1969, became one of the first people in the Auxilliary Coastguard Service to pick up an award for 40 years of continuous service.

The Blackhall Rocks coastguard station in 1969

The Blackhall Rocks coastguard station in 1969

John’s job was actually as a farmer.

Yet on top of that, he kept a lookout on the coast of the North East in his part-time role as a coastguard for 48 years.

And when the ACS brought in a medal for 40 years of distinguished service, John was one of the first recipients.

His title was watcher-in-charge of the Blackhall coastguard station which was near the crossroads in the village.

The Northern Daily Mail featured his story in 1969 and our report at the time said: “Fortunately in all the years of storm watch, Mr Laing has never seen a serious disaster.”

John had already received a medal for 20 years service. He got a bar to his medal for 40 years of loyalty.

Who remembers John and the coastguard station at Blackhall?

Get in touch using the details on this page.

In the same year, were you one of the Golden Flatts Junior School pupils who got to visit Westminster - with an MP to show you round.

In 1969, that’s what happened to 40 children from the school who were shown everything from the Queen’s robing room to the chambers of both the House of Commons and the House of Lods.

Hartlepool MP Ted Leadbitter heard of their visit and personally gave them a tour.

He said at the time that he wanted to ensure the children would “get more personal attention.”

Did you tour Westminster that year. Contact chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk