Fylde coast loses lifeboat stalwart

Frank Kilroy who has died at the age of 72 and (below) with his book on the history of the Mexico disaster.

Frank Kilroy who has died at the age of 72 and (below) with his book on the history of the Mexico disaster.

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A COMMUNITY stalwart and dedicated member of Lytham St Annes Lifeboat station has died.

Frank Kilroy devoted more than 25 years to the station, joining as a launcher in 1984, before taking the role of head launcher and later lifeboat operations manager.

Frank Kilroy with his book on the history of the Mexico disaster.

Frank Kilroy with his book on the history of the Mexico disaster.

He retired in 2005 but gave up his time to volunteer as the lifeboat visits officer overseeing numerous schools and group parties visiting the all-weather Lifeboat Boathouse each year.

Frank was still volunteering when he died last Saturday in Blackpool Victoria Hospital following a short illness, aged 72.

Born in Lytham in 1939 Frank lived most of his life in the town apart from periods doing National Service and working for HM Customs and Excise in the Midlands.

He later worked at Fleetwood Docks and then at Preston Dock occasionally doing Customs duty at Blackpool Airport.

David Forshaw, a colleague at Lytham St Annes RLNI, said: “Growing up in Lytham, Frank naturally had an interest in the lifeboat station and started fundraising for the RLNI and researching into the history of the Mexico disaster.

“This led to him organising talks and exhibitions on the Lifeboat service and to his call up in 1986 to organise the forming of the Lifeboat Museum.

“A number of the models displayed were built by Frank, model making being one of his many other talents.”

A founder member of the Lytham Heritage Group in 1987, his contribution to the Mexico Disaster Exhibition, which is currently taking place in the Lytham Heritage Centre, will be on display until March 4.

Mr Forshaw added: “Frank was one of those people who seemed to be able to pack more into life than most other mortals. He had a wide range of interests but his main passions were the lifeboat service, railways and model making.

“Frank, with the support of his wife Irene, was still volunteering his time and energy as Lifeboat Visits Officer when he sadly died. He will be greatly missed by all who met or worked with him.”