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Holyhead RNLI crew recreate historic photo to commemorate coxswain's retirement

Lifeboats News Release

The new year marks a new chapter in the history of Holyhead lifeboat station when dedicated RNLI Coxswain Brian Thomson retired at the end of a long career at sea.

Current crew, with outgoing coxswain Brian Thomson on the bridge (left) alongside mechanic Ian James

John Cave

Current Holyhead crew gather at Mackenzie Pier

Brian, 64, of Walthew Avenue, Holyhead, officially retires at midnight on New Year’s Eve, after serving the station for 44 years, 14 of them as coxswain.

To mark the occasion, current crew members gathered to recreate an historic photograph, taken approximately 100 years ago of the ‘Duke of Northumberland’ steam powered lifeboat at Holyhead’s Mackenzie Pier.

The new photo shows the current crew alongside the current Holyhead RNLI all weather lifeboat, the Christopher Pearce, with Brian Thomson and mechanic Ian James on the bridge, and incoming coxswain Tony Price also pictured second left, portside.

Brian, who was awarded the MBE during his career for his services to the RNLI, said he is looking forward to spending more time with his wife Lorraine, his two grown up children and his three grandchildren.

'Duke of Northumberland' steam-powered lifeboat, at the Mackenzie Pier, Holyhead


The original 'Duke of Northumberland' photograph, taken early 1900's
Outgoing coxswain Brian Thomson MBE

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland