The widow of a dad-of-five killed when his jet ski crashed into North Pier has called on more people to support the resort’s RNLI.
Ian Hales’ wife Debbie, who survived the accident, said she ‘would not be here today’ without the efforts of volunteers who helped the pair from the water, as well as medics at the Victoria Hospital.
She said: “I cannot thank everyone enough for the love, care and support shown to my family and I on the day of the accident and in the weeks, months and years since it happened.
“The RNLI relies totally on donations from each and every one of us.
“What started as a beautiful day out on Good Friday 2003 ended in tragedy when I lost my childhood sweetheart, my best friend, my special husband Ian.”
Colin Lowe, RNLI lifeboat helmsman said: ‘Debbie’s rescue is one that has stayed with me over the years and it’s great that she keeps in touch with us so regularly.
“Blackpool RNLI lifeboat station is manned entirely by volunteers and we all dedicate a lot of time and effort to training and call outs.
“Debbie now dedicates a huge amount of time, effort and generosity to fund-raising on our behalf and that’s extraordinary.
“We don’t expect anything from casualties – we’re just there to help them whenever and wherever they need us.
“It’s amazing that Debbie has turned such a terrible ordeal into something positive – she’s helping us to save lives at sea every day and we’re all really grateful to her.”
Mr Hales, 47, of Breighmet, Bolton, may have suffered a heart attack prior to the crash, a post-mortem examination found.
His inquest later returned a verdict of accidental death, with then-coroner Ann Hind describing the incident as a ‘terrible tragedy’.