Sea heroes honoured

RNLI Lifeboats Visits Officer Frank Kilroy and Coxswain Martin Jaggs at the memorial to the disaster.
RNLI Lifeboats Visits Officer Frank Kilroy and Coxswain Martin Jaggs at the memorial to the disaster.
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A POIGNANT service was held for brave volunteers that did not return from a daring sea mission.

The service, at St John’s Church, Lytham, remembered the 13 members of St Annes’ lifeboat crew who died 125 years ago when attempting to save the lives of those onboard the German vessel Mexico.

A packed church included the relatives of the volunteer crew, members of the present day lifeboat team and residents who all wanted to remember the worst disaster in the history of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), which also saw 14 men from Southport lose their lives.

David Forshaw, from Lytham St Annes RNLI, said: “It was a very good service.

“It’s a very important thing to remember because it is the worst disaster in lifeboat history and with all the things happening with the cockle pickers, it brought it to the front of people’s memories and we are very grateful that it has.”

The Lytham lifeboat managed to rescue the 12 men onboard the Mexico and returned safely to their dock, but the volunteers from St Annes succumbed to the horrendous conditions and their craft was found the following morning on December 10, 1886.

Coastguard teams from Southport also came to pay their respects along with hundreds of people from the Lytham and St Annes community.

Mr Forshaw added: “The weather we have had in the last few days is very similar to what they would have had when they went out and there was a cockle bed very close to where it happened.”

David Forshaw, the lead launch of Lytham and St Annes Lifeboat, added: “It was a very special day and very emotional.

“There was quite a few relatives there and some came from as far as North Wales. The emotions inside the church were partly pride in the town and sorrow for those that were lost, particularly among the families that were there.”

“It is one of those things you have to commemorate and have to remember.

You can’t let it go.”