A FATHER and son have joined together to front the RNLI's Christmas appeal.

Rhyl lifeboat volunteer Mathew Baines and his dad, Bob, are helping to promote the message 'Bring the crew home safe this Christmas'.

In the appeal letter, which is being delivered to about 200,000 households across Wales, Bob talks about how proud he is of his son who went on his first ever shout at just 18 years old on a very wet and cold November night.

But he also worries for Mathew when he is called out to save others who are in trouble.

Bob, who has been part of the crew at Rhyl for more than 12 years, talks about how he tracks the lifeboat’s progress online and the sense of relief he feels when his son returns home safe.

"It can be difficult seeing Mathew leave when the pager goes. I worry about him and what he might go through when he is out on a shout," he said.

"Even at Christmas, I know that Mathew might have to drop everything and run out the door to go and save someone’s life."

Mathew, who is a lifeguard on the beach when he’s not at university, said: "The best Christmas gift RNLI volunteers like me can wish for is a kind donation to our Christmas appeal. Funds raised will provide the lifesaving kit I need when I’m out saving lives in all weathers.

"We’ve had a very challenging summer, rescuing those in difficulty in the midst of a pandemic.

"As lockdown restrictions lifted, people flocked to the coast and lots of people needed to be rescued by lifeboat crews like ours, right across the country."

The Rhyl Lifeboat Station has always been a part of Mathew’s life; When he was younger, he would visit the station with his dad at every opportunity.

At secondary school, Mathew chose to complete the volunteering section of his Duke of Edinburgh Award at the station, and he loved visiting other RNLI stations whilst on family holidays.

The Christmas appeal aims to raise £2million in donations after an unprecedented summer.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, the popular Rhyl Lifeboat Day, Raft Race and big music festival, 53° North, had to be cancelled and the volunteer-run RNLI shop in town had to close. Similar closures and cancellations across the UK and Ireland have cost the RNLI millions of pounds in lost income.

The RNLI has spent £1.2million this year on PPE, including about 700,000 face masks, 2.4 million gloves and 4,700 litres of hand sanitiser. This is money the charity hadn’t budgeted for but needed to be spent to keep its lifesavers and the public protected during the coronavirus crisis.

To support the appeal, visit: RNLI.org/Xmas