The voluntary sector and the wider community is mourning the loss of Gary Spearman, who died yesterday (Easter Sunday) following a battle with cancer.
Gary will be known to many for his years of service with organisations such as Sandown & Shanklin Independent Lifeboat, Ryde Inshore Rescue, the British Red Cross and WightSAR.
Over the years he volunteered hundreds – if not thousands – of hours of his time to help support those in need, be it at sea or on dry land.
As a boy, Gary had a keen interest in the fire service and could be regularly found watching drill nights at Ryde Fire Station. Unable to join the fire service, he went on to provide years of public service through the voluntary sector.
With Gary’s health deteriorating, the decision was taken by Deputy Chief Fire Officer Steve Apter to appoint Gary as an Honoury Firefighter on 31st March. This appointment was made on the final day of operations for the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service with a certificate presented at Mountbatten Hospice by FF Damon Corr and FF David Lines of Ryde Fire Station.
Gary, who was born on the Island in 1984, died on the morning of Sunday 4th April 2021.
Numerous tributes have been paid to Gary over the past 24 hours. Bembridge Coastguard Rescue Team, who regularly worked alongside Gary, have said:
“The Isle of Wight Search and Rescue family lost one of its most professional, selfless and dedicated members.
“Gary has helped to rescue so many people over the years yet most don’t even know his name. RIP Gary you will be missed by all of us.”