THE countdown to Rhyl receiving its new £2.5m lifeboat has officially begun.

On Wednesday, October 9, RNLI volunteers will start the journey to bring Rhyl’s new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat Anthony Kenneth Heard home.

The crew will set off from the charity's headquarters in Poole, Dorset.

Her homecoming is expected to be quite a spectacle on Sunday; supporters will be given the opportunity to see three generations of lifeboat side by side.

Former Oakley class lifeboat Har-Lil, current lifeboats Lil Cunningham and the station’s current D-class lifeboat Mary Maxwell will greet the lifeboat.

Martin Jones, Rhyl RNLI Coxswain, said: "Bringing this lifeboat home will be one of the proudest moments in my RNLI career. We cannot thank the community enough for doing their bit to make this a reality and we know they’ll be here in their droves to welcome her home.

"The volunteer crew have been undergoing intense training for weeks as they get to grips with this modern new lifeboat which is faster and more capable than our current lifeboat.

"The commitment they have shown has been outstanding and it will be reward enough to see the people of Denbighshire giving our new lifeboat a homecoming to remember. It really will be quite a historic occasion, made even more special by the spectacle of three generations of lifeboats coming into the harbour in formation."

The new modern lifeboat is larger, faster, more manoeuvrable and safer and therefore has the potential to save more lives off the North Wales coast.

It is driven and steered by water jets instead of the conventional propellers and rudders. The Shannon can also turn in her own length or stop almost instantly making going alongside a casualty to take off casualties a much safer option.

The lifeboat also has an increased speed of 25 knots as against 17 knots for the current Mersey class lifeboat.

The community pulled out all the stops to raise £150,000 towards the modern new vessel, which was achieved in under a year.

The appeal was closed by the charity’s biggest fan Darcey Payne-Burgoyne, who donated her £150 pocket money to close the appeal earlier this year.

The Ysgol Bryn Hedydd pupil is counting down the days to see the eagerly awaiting lifeboat arrive home.