A Falkirk seaman has been given the Merchant Navy’s highest honour for his volunteer work.
Frank Welsh, originally from Glen Village, has been awarded the Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service.
The award is the highest the Merchant Navy can bestow and Frank (68) was honoured for his work with the Merchant Seamen’s War Memorial Society, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of retired and injured sailors and their families.
One of six children, the former St Mungo’s pupil left Falkirk in 1964 for Southampton where he trained to become a cook in ship’s galleys.
Over the years he worked in iconic ships including the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Elizabeth II, sailing on the Shaw Savill Line and Cunard ships.
He returned ashore in 1985 and helped to run the National Union of Seaman until retiring in 2000.
However, even in retirement, Frank continued to work with the Merchant Seamen’s War Memorial Society, looking after the welfare of sailors.
He volunteers at the charity’s sprawling country estate in Surrey which provides space for injured seamen to recuperate as well as giving serving and retired sailors a place to spend holidays with their families.
Frank, who has three children - daughters Geraldine and Fiona and son Daniel, who followed him into a career in the Merchant Navy - was presented with the medal by Admiral Lord West of Spithead at a special ceremony in London in front of colleagues and invited guests.
Frank’s sister Agnes Buchanan, who still lives in Falkirk, said the whole family are proud of him.
She said: “Frank wanted to be at sea ever since anyone can remember and that he is still dedicating his time to help seamen speaks volumes about his kindness. “They don’t give many of the medals out, so it’s a huge honour for Frank to be selected. We are all very proud of him.”