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Huge turn out for funeral of former Rhyl lifeboat crew member

Published date: 20 March 2017 |
Published by: Suzanne Jordan 
Read more articles by Suzanne Jordan  Email reporter

Photo: Kerry Roberts 

FAMILY friends and former colleagues lined the streets for the funeral of a former lifeboat crew member whose career spanned more than 50 years.

Gerald Hughes died aged 87 at his home last month. He served as crew, bowman and second coxswain with Rhyl Lifeboat. He lived alone and was described as a “private person” but was “friendly and cheerful” and willing to impart his knowledge to anyone who wanted to know.

Last Friday, Mr Hughes’ coffin was carried from the boathouse in Rhyl to St Thomas’ church on the back of an inshore lifeboat.

Photo: Kerry Roberts

Eulogies were given by relative David Hughes and former coxswain Peter Robinson before his coffin was taken to St Asaph crematorium. His ashes will be scattered at sea.

Paul Frost, deputy second Coxswain at Rhyl lifeboat station, said: “Gerald lived his life entirely in Rhyl, apart from his National Service in the Army on heavy artillery.

“He was employed by Anwyl Construction in his early years. He was also involved in many things relating to the harbour and held a salmon sea fishing licence.

“He could regularly be seen with Tony Hodgson, his fishing partner, with their nets and salmon punt, fishing the incoming tide.”

Mr Frost added: “Gerald was involved with Rhyl lifeboat for over 50 years, retiring when he was 63. He had been crew, bowman and second coxswain in his service.”

Mr Hughes – whose “home was like a lifeboat museum” – left all his RNLI memorabilia to the station. Items will form part of a heritage centre and museum as part of a proposed expansion of the station.

Mr Frost said: “The inshore lifeboat – which Gerald was taken from the boathouse on – was on its carriage and was escorted by crew, coastguards and family and then borne by past and present crew into the church.”

Mr Hughes was the second member of the lifeboat family to be given a special tribute.

Former station mechanic and lifeboat operations manager Ray Coltman died in January aged 79.

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