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Donation in memory of Haydn Griffiths presented to Hoylake RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

Family and friends of a man who tragically lost his life while swimming off the Wirral coast visited Hoylake RNLI lifeboat station on Saturday 20 May to present a donation in his memory to one of the lifeboat crews that helped search for him.

Hoylake RNLI

Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club held a race day in memory of Haydn Griffiths to raise funds for the RNLI

Haydn Griffiths was an accomplished athlete and sailor from Lowton near Wigan, where the 23-year-old sailed competitively as a member of Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club (LLSC). Following Haydn’s sad passing in July 2022, the club decided to rename a racing event and establish a trophy in his memory that would raise funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

Volunteer lifeboat crew from the RNLI at Hoylake and New Brighton took part in the multi-agency search for Haydn after he got into difficulty in the water last summer.

The inaugural Haydn Griffiths RNLI Trophy Day was held at LLSC on Sunday 2 April 2023, with sailing club members and visitors taking part in numerous races throughout the day. The club raised £303 for the RNLI through entry fees and donations, with the RNLI’s St. Helens and District Fundraising Branch also hosting a stall and raising £500. The competition raised a total of over £800 for the lifesaving charity. A hand-crafted wooden trophy bearing Haydn’s name and featuring an RNLI lifeboat powering through mountainous waves was presented for the first time to the event winner.

Haydn’s sisters Megan and Brogan and baby nephew Roman visited Hoylake RNLI lifeboat station on 20 May with some of Haydn’s friends and members of the Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club. They met the station’s volunteer crew, before LLSC President Mike Barnes presented the club’s donation to Deputy 2nd Coxswain Matt Pownall-Jones. The funds raised will go towards West Kirby RNLI’s appeal to fund a new D class inshore lifeboat for the Wirral station.

Following the presentation, LLSC President Mike Barnes said: ‘Haydn learned to sail as a young boy at Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club and went on to be an exceptional sailor. He also gave his time freely as he grew up, teaching and coaching at the club. We have traditionally held an RNLI fundraising event, so it felt only natural to re-badge the event as the Haydn Griffiths RNLI Trophy Day. Most of us at the club end up on the sea at some point and are incredibly grateful to have the RNLI in support when things go wrong.’

The Griffiths family have become advocates for water safety and drowning prevention through their ‘Stay Safe for Haydn’ campaign, while also raising funds for the RNLI. Megan took part in the Trophy Day, paying tribute to her brother by racing in his Laser class dinghy. Brogan was 7 months pregnant during the search for Haydn. She is now completing the RNLI Mayday Mile with baby Roman, walking a mile every day in May to support the charity’s volunteers.

Speaking on behalf of her family, Megan said: ‘We are forever grateful to the RNLI crews at New Brighton and Hoylake for their tremendous efforts during the search for Haydn. They gave him the best possible chance of being found. They searched relentlessly and have continued to support our family throughout. It’s our turn to support them, with fundraising and awareness-raising. This is our Haydn’s legacy and we will keep it alive.’

After the funds raised by the sailing club were presented to the RNLI volunteers, they gave their visitors a guided tour of Hoylake’s Shannon class lifeboat, Inshore Rescue Hovercraft and boathouse.

Megan added: ‘Visiting Hoylake for the first time since the search for Haydn last year, we were very apprehensive. I think that having baby Roman with us gave Brogan and myself the strength to do it. When we arrived the emotions hit us hard, but we were overwhelmed with love and support from the RNLI crew members who had all come especially to meet us. Smiling faces of amazing humans!’

‘The kit that the RNLI have here is fantastic, the boat is amazing, and it was very cool to see everything up close and learn about it and the crew’s roles. You can really see and understand why fundraising is so important, to keep these things running and safe. The crew who work and volunteer here have a massive job and every role is so important to the functioning of the RNLI. They save lives at sea, they’re all incredible!’

Accepting the donation on behalf of the RNLI, Deputy 2nd Coxswain Matt Pownall-Jones said: ‘Our volunteers want to thank everyone who organised and took part in the Haydn Griffiths RNLI Trophy Day. It’s incredibly touching to see how many people have come together to help leave a special and lasting legacy in Haydn’s memory. The money raised will help fund a brand new lifeboat for West Kirby RNLI, which will save lives on the Wirral coast for many years to come.’

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact:

Dan Whiteley, Lifeboat Press Officer on 07799 851 316 or email [email protected]

Claire Elshaw, RNLI Regional Media Officer on 07468 353 082 or email [email protected]

RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789

Notes to editors

Hoylake Lifeboat Station was founded in 1803 and is one of the oldest lifeboat stations in the UK. It operates the Shannon class all-weather lifeboat Edmund Hawthorn Micklewood and Inshore Rescue Hovercraft Hurley Spirit. The Hoylake RNLI volunteer crew launched on service 37 times in 2022 and 39 times in 2021.

West Kirby RNLI launched an appeal in 2023 to raise £50,000 to fund a new D class inshore lifeboat. The new lifeboat will replace West Kirby RNLI’s current D class lifeboat Seahorse, which has launched 55 times over the last 2 years, saving 3 lives and aiding 61 people. Find out more at:

Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club

Megan Griffiths (left) sailed her brother Haydn’s Laser class dinghy at the event

Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club

A handmade wooden trophy was created for the Haydn Griffiths RNLI Trophy Day and features a lifeboat in rough seas

Griffiths family

It was the first time that sisters Brogan (left) and Megan (right) had visited Hoylake RNLI since their brother passed away. Brogan’s baby son Roman joined them on the visit

Griffiths family

Haydn Griffiths (right) was an accomplished athlete and sailor who had been a member of Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club from a young age

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

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.