Historic day planned at Rhyl RNLI to welcome home new £2.5M Shannon

Lifeboats Media Invite

The volunteer Rhyl RNLI crew will this week set off from the charity’s headquarters in Poole, Dorset, on the exciting passage to bring their new all-weather lifeboat Anthony Kenneth Heard back to Denbighshire.

Former Oakley class lifeboat Har-Lil, current lifeboats Lil Cunningham and the station’s current D-class lifeboat Mary Maxwell will greet the Shannon class lifeboat and provide a spectacle for viewers in the harbour.

The modern, state-of-the-art lifeboat is larger, faster, more manoeuvrable and safer and therefore has the potential to save more lives off the north Wales coast.

Martin Jones, Rhyl RNLI Coxswain says:

'Bringing this lifeboat home will be one of the proudest moments in my RNLI career. We cannot thank the community enough for doing their bit to make this a reality and we know they’ll be here in their droves to welcome her home.

‘The volunteer crew have been undergoing intense training for weeks as they get to grips with this modern new lifeboat which is faster and more capable than our current lifeboat. The commitment they have shown has been outstanding and it will be reward enough to see the people of Denbighshire giving our new lifeboat a homecoming to remember. It really will be quite a historic occasion, made even more special by the spectacle of three generations of lifeboats coming into the harbour in formation.’

The community pulled out all the stops to raise £150,000 towards the modern new vessel in less than a year – exceeding all expectations. The appeal was closed by the charity’s biggest fan Darcey Payne-Burgoyne, who donated her £150 pocket money to close the appeal earlier this year. The Ysgol Bryn Hedydd pupil is counting down the days to see the eagerly awaiting lifeboat arrive home.

Fundraising was kick-started when Brendan O’Carroll, the star of hit BBC comedy Mrs Brown’s Boys, shocked Rhyl RNLI volunteers by announcing on stage in the Pavilion Theatre, Rhyl that he would donate £10,000 towards the Shannon-class lifeboat. In March 2018, Rhyl RNLI celebrated a massive £55,000 cash injection thanks to the Steve Morgan Foundation.

The new lifeboat brings 21st century technology to Denbighshire. Driven and steered by water jets instead of the conventional propellers and rudders, the Shannon can turn in her own length or stop almost instantly making going alongside a casualty to take off casualties a much safer option.

The increased speed of 25 knots as against 17 knots for the current Mersey class lifeboat on Station at Rhyl mean that casualties can be reached sooner in desperate situations where conditions are rapidly deteriorating.

The Shannon is designed for the safety of the crew, as well as rescued survivors, with better seating and full seat belt safety harnesses. The design of the vessel’s electronics (called SIMS – Systems Information and Management Systems) with a display at all seats mean that crew members do not need to get up to change seats if changing roles in severe weather. A press of a button will allow the functions required to control the vessel to be transferred between the seating positions.

Notes to editors

Media Invite: Rare opportunity to see three generations of RNLI lifeboats as Rhyl’s new Shannon is welcomed home to north Wales. Interviews and photo opportunity available.

When: Sunday 13 October

Where: 11.45am at Rhyl Harbour:

The chance to catch the first glimpse of Rhyl’s new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat Anthony Kenneth Heard. Former Rhyl lifeboat 37-22 Oakley lifeboat Har-Lil’ and the station’s current Mersey class lifeboat Lil Cunningham and D class Mary Maxwell as they welcome the lifeboat home. (The boats will turn in the harbour for photo opportunities and proceed out to sea by noon).

12.24pm – The Shannon class lifeboat will arrive on the beach outside Rhyl Lifeboat Station where she will be recovered.

1pm – The Shannon class lifeboat will be recovered and interviews/images will be available with various RNLI spokespeople outside Rhyl RNLI Lifeboat Station.

PLEASE NOTE: Broadcast quality footage/images will be available for download shortly after the media opportunity from the RNLI News Centre. Please contact Danielle Rush on the numbers below to request the downloadable link.

Anyone wishing to attend the media opportunity should contact Danielle Rush RNLI Media Relations Manager for Wales and the West on 07786 668829 or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

RNLI/Danielle Rush

The Shannon passage crew in Poole, as they prepare to head home for Rhyl


Rhyl's current lifeboats, the Mersey and the D-class


Former Rhyl Oakley class lifeboat Har-Lil


Shannon class lifeboat

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.

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