Aberdyfi RNLI pays tribute to lifetime supporter and volunteer

Lifeboats News Release

Aberdyfi RNLI are sad to announce the passing of former crew member and lifetime supporter, Brian S Bates, who passed away on 19 January 2021.

Brian S Bates, Aberdyfi RNLI volunteer

Doris O'Keefe

Aberdyfi RNLI pays tribute to lifetime supporter and volunteer

Brian was born in the West Midlands in 1934 but after years of visiting North Wales on holiday, he ultimately made Wales his home.

Born in the West Midlands, his links to Wales went back to the war years as he spent his holidays in Bangor with a relative who was also a member of the local Coastguard Team. Cycling, fishing and the local sea scouts ensured a busy childhood, before training as a tool maker with a local engineering firm. Brian completed his National Service with the RAF in South Wales before returning to Rushall in the West Midlands to work for local firms.

During this time, Brian came to Aberdyfi to visit on his bike as he enjoyed sailing and fishing in the Dyfi area. However, a local girl called Nerys became a far more important incentive to visit the Welsh coastline. He moved to Aberdyfi in 1957, and Brian and Nerys married shortly after. As he settled into village life, Brian worked in the local garage and Nerys in a clothes shop.

Both Brian and Nerys supported the work of the RNLI; Brian joined as a volunteer crew member in late 1973 and Nerys as a volunteer on the fundraising guild.

Sadly, he lost Nerys to cancer in the late 1970s, a bitter blow, but he continued to involve himself in the activities of the village.

As a volunteer crew member then followed as Helm on Aberdyfi lifeboat, Brian’s local knowledge of the coastline was invaluable in resolving many incidents and in training new crew to undertake those tasks. After retiring off the crew, he continued to support the RNLI by using his years of experience supporting the station in management roles - both as volunteer Launch Authority and Station Chair.

As well as the RNLI, he also volunteered with Aberdyfi Coastguard Team by dedicating 25 years to the rescue service.

Brian was a keen supporter of every aspect of village life. He sat on the Community Council for over 30 years and during this time was selected as Chairman twice - a clear sign of his dedication and commitment to his local community.

Despite poor health in the past ten years, Brian remained very independent and active in many activities. He stepped back from his voluntary work two years ago, but still was very happy to share his local knowledge if asked.

David Williams, Chair of Aberdyfi RNLI said:

‘From all at Aberdyfi RNLI, we send our deepest sympathy to Brian’s family and friends. He will be very much missed by the whole community.

‘Thank you, Brian, for your time and dedication to saving lives at sea. May you have a fair wind in your sails.’

Notes to editors

Attached is a photo of Brian Bates, Aberdyfi RNLI volunteer who sadly passed away on 19 January 2021, aged 86 years old.

Brian’s funeral will be on the 2nd February 2021 at 11am at Aberdyfi Cemetery. The hearse will drive through the village prior to this (approximately 10:30am).

RNLI media contact

For more information contact Eleri Roberts, RNLI Regional Media Officer on 07771 941390 or email Eleri_Roberts@rnli.org.uk.

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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