Respected South Shields Marine School lecturer Alain Reynier has received the royal seal of approval for his services to the careers of young seafarers and seafarer welfare over two decades.
He was presented with the Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service by HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, at a ceremony at Trinity House in London, on Wednesday, November 6.
The medal is reward for his devotion to duty and exemplary service in 20 years of working at South Shields Marine School.
It is an award within the British honours system, given to no more than 20 recipients annually who are announced each September on Merchant Navy Day.
Alain was nominated by marine cadets in recognition of going above and beyond the call of duty in supporting their welfare during their studies at the marine school, which is part of Tyne Coast College.
He said: “It is quite humbling to find myself being shown their appreciation in such a way.
“I have been a lecturer with the college since 1999, and shortly after joining, I moved into its Dr Winterbottom Halls of Residence to offer tutorial support to marine school students.
“I lived there many years, resulting in me assisting students with both academic and personal problems, which just became a way of life to me.”
During his time with South Shields Marine School, an informal marine LGBT group, to assist students with the ‘coming out’ and associated concerns, was formed and still runs.
The group has been recognised by Tyne Coast College, which operates South Shields Marine School, and has a banner to enable members to march with non-LBGT supporters at events.
Though no longer based within the Halls of Residence, Alain has continued his support, helping students with their work during the college day and also when needed at other times.
This resulted in several ex-students nominating him for the Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service, stating how much he had helped them change their lives.
John Roach, Principal of South Shields Marine School, said: “This thoroughly deserved commendation is astonishing recognition of Alain’s superb work over two decades.”
2019 marks the fourth year of the Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service, which succeeded the former Merchant Navy Medal presented by the industry between 2005 and 2015.
Over the last two years, medals have been presented by The Princess Royal to men and women who have contributed to maritime safety, improved efficiency, training, welfare and the saving of life at sea.