Llandudno’s volunteer crew will lead the station’s all-weather RNLI lifeboat Andy Pearce through town on Saturday as they prepare to bid her a final farewell.
Departing from the charity’s only remaining town centre boathouse on Lloyd Street; the crew will lead their much-loved lifeboat to the North Shore, where she will launch for the last time at 11am.
The departure of the all-weather lifeboat, after giving 27 years of faithful service to Llandudno’s volunteer crews, will also bring to an end the 156 years-old practice whereby the town’s lifeboats have been taken through the streets to their launch sites.
Among the volunteer crew walking alongside the lifeboat will be the station’s current Coxswain Graham Heritage. Graham is the only current serving crew member to have had the honour of bringing the Andy Pearce to Llandudno more than a quarter of a century ago.
He said: ‘The day will be tinged with pride and sadness. The Andy Pearce has been a trusted lifeboat for a number of years. Up until the end of 2016, she had launched 245 times, rescued 311 people and saved 50 lives.
”We have been a unique station in the way we taken our lifeboat through town to its launch site. This has brought its own challenges through the years, especially in the busy summer months.
”We are extremely fortune to now have a modern Shannon class lifeboat, a purpose built modern boathouse at Craig y Don and the very best facilities for the volunteer crew. It will be an honour to walk our trusted lifeboat through town and then to sail her away from Llandudno for the very last time.”
Last month, the new RNLI boathouse was opened and in the all-weather Shannon class lifeboat was named William F Yates. The Shannon operates alongside the D-class lifeboat Dr Barbara Saunderson which was also dedicated at the naming ceremony.
The £2.2M Shannon class lifeboat has been funded thanks to a number of donors. The all-weather lifeboat was named by Peter Forster-Dean, executor of the Gladys Yates estate in memory of William Frederick Marple Yates. Both Mr yates and his wife Gladys were both born in Widnes, Lancashire but had great affection for Llandudno.
Captain Marcus Elliott, Llandudno volunteer lifeboat operations manager said: “The departure of the Andy Pearce marks the end of an era for Llandudno and as it will be the last time an all-weather lifeboat will be towed through the town.
”We are now fully operational from our new long awaited boathouse on the promenade which will soon be open to public visits. We hope the townspeople will come along and give this fine lifeboat the send-off she deserves.”