Known to thousands of Seafarers as Alan Olly, the following is a history of the recently appointed holder of a Merchant Navy Medal, spanning 60 years association with the Merchant Navy.
During his ten years at sea, he served with four shipping companies – Ben Line, Star Whaling Co., Blue Funnel & Esso Petroleum - this resulted in the award of the Foreign-going Certificate of Competency as Master, No.84743
He then came ashore in 1959 as a Divisional Officer; Seamanship Instructor at “H.M.S. CONWAY” Merchant Navy Cadet Training Ship, with 300 Cadets.
He joined Fleetwood Navigation School (FNS) as a Lecturer in 1961, coaching Fishermen, Cadets, Second Mate, First Mate and Master Mariners to pass their written and oral examinations in Liverpool M.C.A. unit. The number of students over the next 25 years increased from an average of 40 per year to over 300.
With the introduction of O.N.C. and O.N.D. within Maritime Studies the need for a Correspondence Course, later to become known as a Distance Learning Programme, was identified. He was the project leader for this in 1962, which lead to a huge increase in student enrolment at FNS.
In 1968 he was appointed in command by the Lord Commissioners of the Admiralty in order to deliver a training vessel to the Fleetwood R.N. Sea Cadets. This involved coaching 5 fifteen year old cadets as they navigated over 500 nautical miles from Tilbury to Fleetwood - their first trip to sea.
In 1971 he achieved a Diploma in Management Studies.
In 1972 he was promoted to Curriculum Manager for the Mate and Master courses, which now involved additions to competency. This included designing and delivering this additional information in the most practical way. He developed an innovative approach to curriculum management, splitting the curriculum into three sections, each of seven weeks duration in such a way that no prior knowledge was required of the other two sections whenever you started your first section. This resulted in the success rate of Fleetwood students achieving a 93% first-time Pass, outstripping many of the other training colleges – and this is still true today!
In 1984 and for the next two years he pioneered and conducted a Residential Management Training Course at Alston Hall, for Officers of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
He took a sabbatical year in 1986, during which he achieved an M.A. in Systems Management from Lancaster University, followed by retirement. He then worked with the R.N.L.I. for a number of years, voluntarily, as a D.L.A. (Deputy Launching Authority) on call 24 hours a day to liaise with the Coastguard and superintend launching of the lifeboat where necessary, and in a consultancy role, conducting surveys at sea in support of Lifeboat Resource Deployment linked with tidal silting at a Lifeboat Station. He re-joined the Fleetwood Nautical College(FNC) and resumed lecturing to Mates and Masters in 1996. He was responsible for revising the Correspondence Course of 1962, and created the Distance Learning Programme, the quality of which won Lloyd`s List 1999 Salute to Youth and Maritime Training Award in recognition of the College's “outstanding and consistent contribution to training within the maritime industry.”
Editorial Note: I am sure that all of us are very proud to hear of the tremendous honour which this award bestows on not only Alan but also our alma mater the UK's number one off-shore training facility Fleetwood Nautical College. It highlights how the former FNS starting from very humble beginnings way back in 1892, and renamed FNC on moving to the brand new Broadwater Campus in 1967, attracted staff of the highest calibre and delivered marine education that is still recognised as being at the forefront not only in the UK but also by those in many countries planning a merchant marine career. We, all of us as staff and former students of FNS/FNC also share in the honour bestowed by Trinity House on "Olly". Anyone wishing to add their congratulations may do so by e-mailing them to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Similarly your messages can also be passed on to "Olly" by e-mailing them to the same address.