On December 9th it will be the 125th anniversary of the Mexico tragedy, when 27 RNLI volunteers from Southport and St Annes lost their lives trying to save the crew of the ship as it floundered off Formby sands.
The St Annes lifeboat – the Laura Jane- launched sometime after 9pm that night as did the Charles Biggs – the Lytham boat.
The official report at the time recorded a force 7 gale and “….the tide setting against the wind caused the sea to break heavily, rendering it extremely dangerous to boats."
The Charles Biggs managed to rescue the crew of the Mexico, the Laura Jane unfortunately never returned. The fate of the Southport boat the Eliza Fearnley was also cruel with only two of her crew surviving, the rest perished in the sea that night.
To this day it remains the worst RNLI disaster.
On the Fylde coast, our RNLI service has a proud tradition and history – they are part of the very fabric of the town, the crews are our neighbours and friends and because of their bravery and professionalism, sometimes people forget that they are all volunteers.
With the opening of the cockle beds in September, we are reminded just what a brilliant job they do and how selflessly they set out to sea to save those in distress.
You may have seen me and Katie Fieldhouse on the front of the Lytham St Annes Express this week as we are committed to helping to raise funds for the RNLI and I hope that you can help us with this task.
I asked for some help and ideas on my Facebook page a couple of weeks and was overwhelmed by the response from people wanting to help and offering support – thank you so much for your pledges and promises and I’d also like to thank Steve Singleton and the Lytham St Annes Express for their unstinting and generous support
A poem was written at the time of the Mexico tragedy and lest we forget why we are so indebted to our service I thought I’d include the last verse
Think of the sailors round our coasts who, braving sleet and snow,
Leave sweethearts, wives and little ones when duty bids them go.
Think of our sea-girt Island, a harbour where alone
No Englishman to save a life has failed to risk his own
Then when the storm howls loudest, pray of your charity
That God will bless the lifeboat, and the Warriors of the Sea.