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Rhyl RNLI crew say Goodbye to fellow crew member Ben Hirst

Lifeboats News Release

The charity's volunteers helped to provide a fitting farewell at Ben's funeral.

Cortege travels from Chapel of Rest to the lifeboat station

Daily Post / Ian Cooper

Funeral of Rhyl crew Ben Hirst 16/1/19.
Ben (35) passed away suddenly on 22 December 2018. This came as a great shock to the lifeboat crew and the town of Rhyl as a community. Ben was a true 'gentle giant' and was well known in the town for his bodybuilding and help at the local gyms. He would help anyone in need, and had been on the lifeboat crew for just over four years, taking part in many rescues and also coming to the aid of people in the street. He had helped the baby daughter of his partner who had fallen and had stopped breathing, getting the little one breathing again and stabilising her until an ambulance arrived. He had also featured in the BBC TV series 'Saving Lives at Sea' in 2018, as the inshore lifeboat helped two boys who had got into difficulty off Rhyl promenade.
Ben's coffin was put on the inshore lifeboat and the crew escorted him through the streets of the town from the chapel of rest, past his home, and stopping at the lifeboat station for a minute's silence. The cortege then proceeded to St. Thomas' church for the service, where the crew bore him in and out of the church. There were many hundreds of mourners in the church, to listen to many testimonials about Ben in a moving service, proving testament to Ben's popularity.
The final journey was to the St.Asaph crematorium, where the crew again bore him into the chapel. Again, moving testimonials from his immediate family showed Ben's humour and compassion in life.
The pictures, courtesy of the Daily Post and Rhyl Journal, show the cortege passing through the streets of Rhyl, and also at the lifeboat station. Representatives of Flint RNLI and local UK coastguard teams were present, as was his extended family and friends from near and far.
Martin Jones, Rhyl RNLI Coxswain said ' Although Ben had only been with the RNLI for a few years, he immediately endeared himself to the crew. He was a valued crew member, and we will miss the Big Man and his mischievous sense of humour. Farewell Ben, fair winds and following seas'.
The funeral was overseen by Tong's Funeral services, and the crew would like to thank them and North Wales Police, for their assistance and guidance as the cortege went through the town.
Cortege travels from lifeboat station to the church

Rhyl Journal / Phil Micheu

Funeral of Rhyl crew Ben Hirst 16/1/19.
Behind the boat , L-R Son Alfie, brother John, and Son Elliot.

Rhyl Journal / Phil Micheu

Funeral of Rhyl crew Ben Hirst 16/1/19.
Crew and family observe one minute's silence at lifeboat station

Daily Post / Ian Cooper

Funeral of Rhyl crew Ben Hirst 16/1/19.
Ben rests in front of station.

Daily Post / Ian Cooper

Funeral of Rhyl crew Ben Hirst 16/1/19.
Ben's family and RNLI Rhyl station manager (L) Darrel Crowther.

Daily Post / Ian Cooper

Funeral of Rhyl crew Ben Hirst 16/1/19.

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 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

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