The volunteer crew at Conwy RNLI are coming together for a celebratory event, which will begin the countdown to their 50th anniversary on 18 June.
The station will this week unveil a calendar of events as they work on the final preparations for their big day in four weeks’ time. Their plans will be unveiled to the public, who are invited to the quayside to watch the D-class RNLI lifeboat launch on exercise and hear about how the station has changed over the past 50 years.
Central to celebrations will be the station’s longest-serving volunteer Trevor Jones, who joined Conwy RNLI when it first opened its doors in June 1966, at the age of 22. The anniversary will be a momentous occasion for Trevor, who will also this year, receive an award for 50 years of volunteering with the RNLI at Conwy.
‘As a young lad, joining the lifeboat was a natural thing for me to do. I was a fisherman on the River Conwy and the two went hand in hand. Back in those days, all the lifeboat crew were fishermen and we knew the river like the back of our hands. We were all confident and felt safe in the environment we worked in, so it seemed like the right thing to do to help others who got into trouble.
‘Now, things are different. None of our current crew are commercial fishermen, they come from all walks of life, and this is why training is more important than ever before. The RNLI provides the very best training and equipment for our crew to do their jobs in the safest possible way and that training is paramount.’
Once he had retired from the crew, Trevor helped authorise the launch of Conwy’s lifeboat, firstly as Deputy Launching Authority progressing to Lifeboat Operations Manager in 2005. He still volunteers today in an administrative role.
‘When I first came into the station is was a wooden shed and the lifeboat had nothing like the modern search and rescue equipment it has today. The RNLI has certainly come a long way in half a decade but one thing which hasn’t changed is the fantastic support we have from the public, which keeps us going.’
Also attending the celebratory event on the quay side will be the station’s newest crew members. With them will be crew member Pete Hughes, who is the same age as the station and was encouraged to join by Trevor.
On 18 June, the crew come together at Conwy Comrades Club for an anniversary dinner to mark the occasion.
Conwy RNLI lifeboat station was established in June 1966 when D-class lifeboat D-97 was placed on service.
One of the most memorable services came just four years later in 1970, when Trevor Jones Brian Jones and Ronald Craven rescued two men from the cabin cruiser Fulmar which had broken down one mile west of West Shore, Llandudno on the afternoon of 30 August. The Thanks of the Institution inscribed on Vellum was accorded to all three.
The current D-class lifeboat D-765 The May-Bob was placed on service on 19 March 2014. This lifeboat was provided by the generous bequests of Miss Mavis Kane and her father Mr Robert Kane.
Flint RNLI has also announced it will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The station has opened a small exhibition at Flint Library, which will display photographs of lifeboats pre 1966 to the current day. In May 1966, the RNLI took over the original rescue boat and since then, the volunteer crew have launched 670 times and saved 97 lives.
To mark the anniversary, there will be a coffee morning in the library on 25 May at 10.30am with a presentation about the work of the RNLI.
Notes to Editors
Please find attached a selection of images:
(Main image) Captain S R Roberts, T.D, Mayor of Conwy with crew members Glyn Craven, Joseph Spencer and John Owen celebrate the opening of the new station on 20 July 1985.
Day one of the new building of Conwy RNLI Lifeboat Station on 14 April 1985.
Brian Jones (helm) and Desmond Craven (bow) on one of Conwy RNLI’s early lifeboats.
The new station is officially opened. Captain S R Roberts, T.D. Mayor of Conwy cutting the tape to formally open the new boathouse watched by lifeboat station Honorary Secretary Mr Keith Robinson, Chairman of the Conwy LBS, J.H.Williams MBE and the Reverend Canon R. Dwyfor Jones, Vicar of Conwy. Saturday 20 July 1985. .
Trevor Jones (far right) with members of the newly founded crew and officials in 1966 shortly after the founding of Conwy RNLI Lifeboat Station.
Event: The media are invited to Conwy RNLI lifeboat station as the station gears up to celebrate 50 years of saving lives at sea. There will be an opportunity to interview the station’s longest-serving volunteer, who is marking half a century of saving lives, and some of the station’s newest recruits
When: 18 May, 2016 at 9.15am for photographs/interview. The lifeboat will launch on exercise.
Where: Conwy RNLI Lifeboat Station
For further information, please contact Danielle Rush, RNLI Public Relations Manager in Wales on 01745 585162 or 07786 668829.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.
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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries
Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.