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Family Connection means Ansdell Post Office supports RNLI Shannon Appeal

Lifeboats News Release

The Lytham St Annes Lifeboat Station made an appeal last year to the local community to help raise the balance of money to cover the cost of the new lifeboat Barbara Anne due to arrive early next year and the Roberts family of Ansdell Post Office stepped in immediately to help.

The Roberts family standing on the stern of the Lytham St Annes Lifeboat with two crew members

RNLI/David Forshaw

The Roberts family visit the Lytham St Annes Lifeboat

Post Master Chris Roberts and his wife Laura visited the Lytham St Annes Boathouse with their two children James and Sophie to present a cheque for their first year’s donations to the Appeal Fund. They were thanked and shown over the lifeboat Her Majesty the Queen by Appeal Chairman Digby Moulden and crew member Mike Gee.

Chris said, “This is an initiative by the Ansdell Post Office to help the lifeboats save lives at sea. For every cash withdrawal transaction across the counter we make a donation to the Appeal. We are so pleased it has gone so well that we have decided to continue the scheme for a further twelve months.” He added that James was particularly excited about their family connection to the lifeboat.

Young James’ great, great, great, great grandfather was Coxswain Thomas Rimmer who served in the Lytham and St Annes Lifeboats for over 50 years.

Tom was a member of the Lytham lifeboat crew that put out in December 1886 to the German barque Mexico, wrecked in the Ribble Estuary. In attempting to reach the wreck the St Annes and Southport lifeboats were overcome by the force of the sea and 27 brave lifeboatmen lost their lives in what is the worst disaster in RNLI history. Only two members from the Southport boat survived and the entire crew of the St Annes boat died. The Lytham lifeboat saved the twelve crewmen from the Mexico, despite the terrible conditions at sea that night, and brought them safely to Lytham in the early hours of the morning.

As an experienced lifeboatman, Thomas Rimmer was then asked to become Coxswain of the new St Annes crew formed to replace the lost men and so transferred from the Lytham boat. He was awarded the RNLI’s Silver Medal for gallantry for saving the crew of the barque Albert William in 1888 and carried on as Coxswain until he died peacefully in his sleep at home in 1920 after 33 years in command of the lifeboat.

With the closure of the St Annes Lifeboat Station in 1925, Thomas’ sons Edward (“Teddy”) and Hugh (“Boxer”) transferred to the Lytham Lifeboat, Edward eventually becoming Coxswain and Hugh 2nd Coxswain in 1941 until their retirements after the war.

The annual Lifeboat Fun Run “Leg It for the Shannon Lifeboat” is the next fund raising way to help the Appeal and will take place on Sunday 14th May 2017. Further details are available on the website or from the posters in the Station’s two boathouse souvenir shops on Central Beach and South Promenade.

Chris Roberts holding little Sophie in his arms, hands over a cheque to Shannon Appeal chairman Digby Moulden (left) watched by Laura Roberts holding James and on the right crew member Mike Gee

RNLI/David Forshaw

The Roberts family cheque presentation at Lytham St Annes
Lifeboat Coxswain Thomas Rimmer stands dressed in his oilskins, sou'wester and lifejacket

RNLI/Lytham St Annes Station

Coxswain Thomas Rimmer

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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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 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland