SALT OF THE EARTH: Meet Anthony White - Coastguard, First Responder and "all-round good bloke"

Anthony White with Ravenscar beach behindAnthony White with Ravenscar beach behind
Anthony White with Ravenscar beach behind
The Scarborough News’ Salt of the Earth feature has sought to find people who make a difference to their neighbours and community.

People who give up an incredible number of hours to look after those around them.

There are people who care for their neighbours, cooking meals and popping round to do the ironing or clean for them.

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There are those who run youth groups and Scouts and sports teams, and then there are those who give up their time to, quite literally, become life savers.

Anthony with Coastguard helicopter overheadAnthony with Coastguard helicopter overhead
Anthony with Coastguard helicopter overhead

Anthony White, from Ravenscar, is one such man. He wears a number of hats within the village and has been described as a linchpin of the community.

Anthony is Station Officer at Ravenscar Coastguard, a member of the First-Responding team, chairman of the village hall, cricket team stalwart, darts player, farmer, builder, and just for good measure he drives the snow plough.

Anthony talked to Scarborough News reporter Louise Perrin about what it’s like to be an integral part of his community.

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Anthony White is a friendly, approachable man, with farmer’s hands and a welcome, easy smile. He speaks with a calm manner which would certainly be reassuring if you were in need of his assistance.

L-R Mike Gregson and Anthony WhiteL-R Mike Gregson and Anthony White
L-R Mike Gregson and Anthony White

He is a third generation farmer, his family having moved to Bent Rigg farm in 1927.

The farm is an organic sheep and beef hill farm. Anthony, 53, has 250 sheep and around 20 suckle cows, the meat he raises is of such high quality that he supplies M&S.

Not only is Anthony a third generation farmer, he is also a third generation Coastguard. His team cover an area from Robin Hood’s Bay to Hayburn Wyke, although they’re often called to help other teams out as well.

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Anthony, the Ravenscar Station Officer, said: “ I joined 30 years ago, we’re not a busy team - although we’ve had two call-outs today and I’ll have to go if my beeper goes off now.

Planning the rescuePlanning the rescue
Planning the rescue

“We train once a month and do care and maintenance of equipment once a month.

“Half of the team have been in over 20 years - three of us got our 30-year service medal at the same time.”

Fellow coastguard Mike Gregson has known Anthony for over 20 years. He explained what it’s like to be a Ravenscar Coastguard: “There used to be 10-12 calls a year, but suddenly with the seals being there, there are hundreds of people about, we’ve had 20-25 callouts so far this year.

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“It’s a big ask on people when they’re working - to suddenly lose a wage - but we’re all happy to do it. We all joined for that reason.

Radioing instructionsRadioing instructions
Radioing instructions

“There are 12 of us on the Ravenscar team and we try and get as many to go to each call-out as we can.”

“I don’t know where Anthony gets the time from. I don’t think he sleeps at night. Nothing seems to be too much trouble, he’s always there when we need him, there aren’t many like him around.

“You do need to be aware though, that when he does work for you, you have to keep him supplied with bacon sandwiches and cake!”

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Anthony has been building since he was 18. He said: “I have a small building business, I build sheds, barn conversions, new houses, a few I’ve built from start to finish.

“I spend 30-40 hours a week building and farm night and morning. I always make sure I’m back at five o’ clock so I can have tea with the kids.

“I started building aged 18, farming is in the blood, building is the money. One day I’ll retire and farm.”

Assessing the situationAssessing the situation
Assessing the situation

Not content with saving the lives of those on the coast, Anthony is also one of the area's First Responders.

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He said: “I’ve been a First Responder for 12 years. Due to Covid there’s not many doing it at the moment. My wife Julie is one as well, we get maybe one call-out a month and do training once a quarter.”

Carla Blockley, Anthony’s nearest neighbour, said: “He’s a bit of a linchpin round here and he does it all without raising attention.

“He’s not one to put his head above the parapet, actually, that’s wrong, because he puts himself at risk regularly. If you see anything in the village that’s untoward you call Anthony.”

As for other activities, the couple run a campsite which has been on the farm for 50 years.

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Anthony has played cricket for Ravenscar since he was nine years old. He said “I’m a fun player and don’t take it seriously.” He also plays in the local darts leagues on a Wednesday and Thursday night.

Villager Caroline Murrell said “I’ve lived in the village for 16 years and known Anthony from the word go. He’s very community orientated.

"He does everything for everybody. If you need help, if you need towing in the snow, when you’re stuck, you call him and he’ll come and pull you out.

Anthony said: “I’ve been snowploughing for 35 years and my brother did it before me.

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“I’ve even been on The One Show with my snow plough, I was filmed in the morning and that evening I was watching and I thought ‘that’s me!’

“There can only be one Red Zeta tractor ploughing with a silage bale on the back!”

Caroline said: “He’s genuinely an all-round nice guy. He helps all the animals, even those that are not his.

“He is the first person you phone when you need help. You just give him a call or text and he’s there.

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“I think everybody in the village has him in their phone book and if he can’t help, he’ll know someone who can.

“He’s been passionate about keeping the village hall going. He’s 100% for everyone else.

“It’s not just him, it’s his wife Julie as well. They’ll both go out of their way to help anybody.

“When there’s something on at the Village Hall, she’s doing the baking and he’s doing the barbecue.”

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Anthony said: “I became chair of the village hall committee because no-one else wanted to do it.

“People who move into the village need to get involved and be part of the village.

“I’d like to encourage people to get involved wherever they live, whether it’s town or country, get involved and talk to your neighbours. Have a laugh and enjoy yourself. You need people to live in the village and get involved.

Lisa Williams, a former Salt of the Earth herself, said of Anthony: “He is always there in a crisis, willing to help anyone in trouble.

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“He has a warped but good sense of humour, turns his hand to so many things and is always willing to teach you the ropes.

“The hours he works are long but you never hear him complain about it. He's an all-round good bloke. “

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Yorkshire Weeklies

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