A FINAL farewell was given to a town’s long-serving lifeboat.

Mersey class Lifeboat ‘Lil Cunnigham’ has served for 27 years as a station boat.

The boat is being replaced by Rhyl’s new £2.2m Shannon class all-weather lifeboat Anthony Kenneth Heard.

On Sunday, December 15, a large crowd gathered to watch Lil Cunningham, affectionately known as ‘Lil’, launch for the last time.

Her last poignant final job was to scatter the ashes of former crew member Gordon Williams, who died on September 6.

The ceremony was undertaken by Coxswain Martin Jones.

Paul Frost and Jimmy Quinn made their final trip as sea-going crew. Mr Frost and Mr Quinn, who have served on Rhyl lifeboat for more than 50 years, are retiring.

Mr Frost said: “Both Jimmy and I are sad to finish our sea-going duties, but we are both proud to be part of the crew picked to take ‘Lil’ away, and also proud to be part of a great team of volunteers at Rhyl.

"We are sure we have handed over to an excellent crew, who will continue saving lives at sea into the future off the North-East Wales coastline.”

Once the ceremony was over, the lifeboats gave a sail-past for the watching public.

Mr Quinn, third mechanic, has provided mechanic cover at many stations throughout the RNLI.

Mr Frost has been Deputy Coxswain at Rhyl, providing both mechanic and Coxswain cover at Rhyl for Mr Jones. He is also the station’s Press Officer.

Paul will retain his press officer role on station.

Mr Jones said: “The RNLI lifeboat station at Rhyl has been very lucky to have such crew as Jimmy and Paul.

“They have helped both me and the RNLI, and have served the charity well for over half a century.

“We are glad they will continue serving the station in some capacity in the years to come”.

The Mersey sailed to Conwy Marina, where she will be stored.

The lifeboat will still provide cover, and will be maintained as a relief boat for the remaining Mersey lifeboats in the fleet around the UK and Ireland.