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 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 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.