A 37-year-old woman from Seamill has been awarded a medal for promoting diversity in the maritime sector.

Captain Susan Cloggie-Holden was the first woman to reach that rank in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s 116-year history, and was consequently awarded the medal for working tirelessly to support women in maritime.

Susan is a founding member and vice chair of the Women in Maritime Taskforce forum with more than 700 members.

She said: “I’m honoured to be awarded this prestigious medal alongside some truly inspirational seafarers.

“To reach the rank of captain has been my career ambition and I now feel it is my duty to help others to reach their goals.

“I believe diversity is key to this, as an inclusive and diverse working environment ensures everyone is equal and enables them to reach their potential.”

Another recipient was Second Officer Paul Owen - a sailor who was bullied early in his career over his sexuality.

The 53-year-old from Blackpool is the first recipient of the Merchant Navy Medal for championing LGBT+ rights, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.

He said: “Having suffered a degree of bullying early in my career because I identify as LGBT+, I made the conscious decision to offer support to fellow seafarers who were experiencing difficulties because of their sexuality.

“This has been on an informal basis through social media and company forums but going forward I will be appointed as the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s LGBT+ champion when I return to the RFA this autumn.”

Maritime minister Robert Courts said: “I’m delighted to see Paul and Susan rewarded for their outstanding service.

“Diversity is vital for the success of any sector and the extraordinary work they do on a daily basis improves

the lives of those in the workforce.”