Daughter reunited with father’s Hoylake RNLI guernsey after social media appeal
The daughter of a long-serving Hoylake RNLI volunteer has been reunited with her father’s long-lost crew guernsey after a social media appeal sought to find its mystery owner.
The guernsey - or “gansey” as they’re known - had been on display in The Ship Inn, Hoylake since at least the early 1980s. When it was returned to Hoylake RNLI lifeboat station last year, a call-out for information was shared on the station’s social media channels.
Thanks to a former member of the pub’s staff Lee Bartlett, who also served on the Hoylake RNLI crew for 14 years, the mystery was solved. Lee recalled that whenever the pub changed hands, veteran Hoylake RNLI volunteer Gordon (Gordie) Bird would remind Lee that the gansey was his to make sure it didn’t go missing.
Gordie sadly passed away in 2018 and Lee had moved on from the pub, but with the new information he provided following the appeal, volunteers led by former Coxswain Dave Dodd were able to contact Gordie’s daughter Joanne Maycox and offer her back her father’s gansey. Jo was invited to Hoylake Lifeboat Station recently and was presented with her dad’s gansey by current Coxswain Howie Owen.
Gordie joined the Hoylake Lifeboat crew in 1961 and served on many rescues, including the RNLI Bronze Medal service to the catamaran Truganini in 1979, when the lifeboat and crew launched into storm 10 conditions to save the lives of 3 people on board. When Gordie stepped down from sea-going duties, he became Head Launcher for many years before retiring in 2004. Generations of the Bird family have also served on the crew throughout Hoylake Lifeboat Station’s long history.
On receiving the gansey, Jo said: ‘I would like to thank the Hoylake Lifeboat crew on behalf of my family, especially Davey Dodd who knows how much this means to us. We are so proud of Dad’s service and our family’s long association with the Hoylake Lifeboat crew. It is lovely to own something physical of his to go along with all the memories and stories of his and the family’s service. Whenever I picture my Dad as a young man, he is in his tartan hat and gansey!’
Jo added: ‘We’ve had the gansey reframed and this piece of family history will continue to be cherished for generations to come!’
Howie Owen, Hoylake RNLI Coxswain, said: ‘It was a real pleasure for our volunteers to be able to reunite Jo with her dad’s gansey. After many years representing the Hoylake community’s close links to the lifeboat station, we’re glad that it has finally made its way home to Gordie’s family.’
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.
Learn more about the RNLI
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