Rhyl RNLI say farewell to former mechanic and Operations manager Ray Coltman
The coffin was borne on the back of Rhyl's inshore lifeboat from the station to the church
Many past and present crew, station officials and coastguards were part of the procession which took Ray on his final journey from the boathouse. The coffin was draped in the RNLI flag and they formed a guard of honour walking alongside the inshore lifeboat and at the entrance to the church. Traffic was stopped by police support officers on the route to provide a passage-free movement, with onlookers doffing their caps and standing still in tribute as the cortege passed by. The walkers were then followed by coastguard officers from Rhyl and Flint, then the family in the cars.
Ray was borne into the church on the shoulders of five senior crew and a member of Ray's family. The church was packed with people from the local community, friends and family, showing how well-respected our shipmate was.
Revd. Andy Grimwood read out an eulogy from Ray's daughter Jayne, and then Deputy Second Coxswain Paul Frost MBE read out a personal eulogy remembering Ray as a fellow crew member and personal friend.
Ray had been a lifeboat mechanic from 1977 to 1989; was Lifeboat Operations Manager from 2003 to 2008; then boathouse manager until his death. Well known in the community for his forthright approach and knack of getting things done (not always with the agreement of the RNLI !), but always thinking only of his fellow crew and Rhyl Lifeboat station.
Following the church service, Ray was taken to the new St. Asaph crematorium where he was once again borne on the shoulders of family and crew.
Martin Jones, Rhyl lifeboat Coxswain says 'The whole crew were honoured to show our love and pride to a passing crewman, who served the RNLI for nearly 40 years. Ray will be sorely missed'.
Jayne Coltman-Jones says in a Facebook post 'What a send off you gave him! It really was an amazing tribute to him which we were really overwhelmed by. Rhyl Lifeboat was my Dads whole life! It was all he lived and breathed for! I know it was extremely hard for a some of you yesterday, he would of been extremely proud!! '
Local paper the Daily Post covered the event and very kindly agreed to show a video and pictures of the procession. All copyright Daily Post 2017.
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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