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Tributes made to former Holyhead RNLI lifeboat crew member

Lifeboats News Release

It was with great sadness the Holyhead lifeboat crew learned of the death of one of their Deputy Launching Authorities and former crewman Robert (Bob) Thomson at the age of 68, on Saturday (27 January).

Bob Thomson (left)and his brother Brian, former coxswain of Holyhead.

Bob first joined the RNLI in 1970, and served as a dedicated crew member for many years. He took part in many rescues over the next few decades, and became head launcher in 1985.

During his lifeboat career, Bob served on many different classes of vessels, including the Barnett class, Waveney, Arun and Tyne lifeboats. He was one of the crew to bring in the Arun class ‘Hyman Winstone’ in 1980 from her birthplace, as well as the Tyne class St. Cybi II in 1985.

More recently, Bob took on a role as Deputy Launching Authority (DLA), and he was always a regular visitor and friend to the station and the crew. He balanced his lifeboat career with running his own plumbing business, and spending time with his late wife Glenys and three daughters, and his grandchildren.

In 2004, at the naming ceremony for the current all-weather lifeboat Christopher Pearce, Bob met RNLI patron HRH the Duke of Kent. His last time at sea was on that vessel two years ago, accompanying his brother Brian, who was coxswain at Holyhead until the end of 2016, when the vessel was brought back from Portrush after some mechanical work.

Current coxswain at the station, Tony Price, said that Bob had contributed a great deal to the local community:

“He did so much for the town he lived in all his life, volunteering here at the lifeboat station for all of those years, but also providing a service and employment for so many. We would all like to extend our sincere condolences to all of Bob’s family and friends. He’ll be very sadly missed.”

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Vicki Owens, Holyhead RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07531 681409 or Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Media Officer, Wales and West, on 07748 265496 or 01745 585162 or by email on

Bob Thomson
Bob Thomson, left, meeting HRH the Duke of Kent in 2004 at the naming ceremony of the RNLB Christopher Pearce

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