Family Connection means Ansdell Post Office supports RNLI Shannon Appeal

Lifeboats News Release

The Lytham St Annes Lifeboat Station made an appeal last year to the local community to help raise the balance of money to cover the cost of the new lifeboat Barbara Anne due to arrive early next year and the Roberts family of Ansdell Post Office stepped in immediately to help.

The Roberts family standing on the stern of the Lytham St Annes Lifeboat with two crew members

RNLI/David Forshaw

The Roberts family visit the Lytham St Annes Lifeboat

Post Master Chris Roberts and his wife Laura visited the Lytham St Annes Boathouse with their two children James and Sophie to present a cheque for their first year’s donations to the Appeal Fund. They were thanked and shown over the lifeboat Her Majesty the Queen by Appeal Chairman Digby Moulden and crew member Mike Gee.

Chris said, “This is an initiative by the Ansdell Post Office to help the lifeboats save lives at sea. For every cash withdrawal transaction across the counter we make a donation to the Appeal. We are so pleased it has gone so well that we have decided to continue the scheme for a further twelve months.” He added that James was particularly excited about their family connection to the lifeboat.

Young James’ great, great, great, great grandfather was Coxswain Thomas Rimmer who served in the Lytham and St Annes Lifeboats for over 50 years.

Tom was a member of the Lytham lifeboat crew that put out in December 1886 to the German barque Mexico, wrecked in the Ribble Estuary. In attempting to reach the wreck the St Annes and Southport lifeboats were overcome by the force of the sea and 27 brave lifeboatmen lost their lives in what is the worst disaster in RNLI history. Only two members from the Southport boat survived and the entire crew of the St Annes boat died. The Lytham lifeboat saved the twelve crewmen from the Mexico, despite the terrible conditions at sea that night, and brought them safely to Lytham in the early hours of the morning.

As an experienced lifeboatman, Thomas Rimmer was then asked to become Coxswain of the new St Annes crew formed to replace the lost men and so transferred from the Lytham boat. He was awarded the RNLI’s Silver Medal for gallantry for saving the crew of the barque Albert William in 1888 and carried on as Coxswain until he died peacefully in his sleep at home in 1920 after 33 years in command of the lifeboat.

With the closure of the St Annes Lifeboat Station in 1925, Thomas’ sons Edward (“Teddy”) and Hugh (“Boxer”) transferred to the Lytham Lifeboat, Edward eventually becoming Coxswain and Hugh 2nd Coxswain in 1941 until their retirements after the war.

The annual Lifeboat Fun Run “Leg It for the Shannon Lifeboat” is the next fund raising way to help the Appeal and will take place on Sunday 14th May 2017. Further details are available on the website or from the posters in the Station’s two boathouse souvenir shops on Central Beach and South Promenade.

Chris Roberts holding little Sophie in his arms, hands over a cheque to Shannon Appeal chairman Digby Moulden (left) watched by Laura Roberts holding James and on the right crew member Mike Gee

RNLI/David Forshaw

The Roberts family cheque presentation at Lytham St Annes
Lifeboat Coxswain Thomas Rimmer stands dressed in his oilskins, sou'wester and lifejacket

RNLI/Lytham St Annes Station

Coxswain Thomas Rimmer

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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 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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