Thursday 1 February saw New Quay RNLI welcome their new D-class inshore lifeboat, Will Morgan, to the station. It is the first lifeboat to be donated to the station with local family connections in Aberaeron and New Quay.
The funds to build the lifeboat were donated by the late Hubert Evans in memory of his father, William Morgan Evans of Ianthe House and Gylfe, Aberaeron, where he lived from 1875 to 1916. The new boat will replace New Quay’s previous inshore lifeboat, Audrey LJ, after nearly 12 years of service.
Family members gathered to welcome the new lifeboat to New Quay. Sue Rees, a great, great niece of Mr William Morgan Evans said, “We are delighted to be involved in the donation of the next inshore lifeboat for New Quay and the area. Our family has always had strong connections to the sea and has lost many loved ones at sea in the 19th century.
“The last time I saw Hubert I had found details of a tragedy that I’d heard my grandmother talk about. A tragedy that took place off Aberaeron beach in September 1852. Eight people were drowned and the only survivor a 16 year old was David Evans, his father’s brother. He then mentioned that his father had been shipwrecked five times. When I said he was really unlucky, he contradicted me and said he had been the lucky one as he had three brothers who had all died while at sea, including a brother-in-law and his maternal grandfather and great grandfather. His cousin, living at Ianthe after the death of his parents, was lost on the Madras in 1891, a tragedy as all the crew bar one were Aberaeron men.
“Will Morgan Evans, Hubert’s father, my great grandmother’s brother, then moved away to become a Bristol Channel pilot in Port Talbot and returned to Gylfe in Aberaeron on his retirement. It’s amazing to see a lifeboat in his name as we can now honour all those that were lost at sea and remember him and Hubert Evans.”
Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager added, “It is wonderful that our new D-class inshore lifeboat has family connections in the area and we are delighted to welcome the Will Morgan to the station.
“The family are longstanding supporters of the RNLI, and New Quay Lifeboat Station in particular, and have demonstrated their commitment and unwavering support to the RNLI with this donation. This act of generosity means our volunteers can continue saving lives in Cardigan Bay with the most modern and up to date equipment.”
The story behind the two previous D-class lifeboats was also of tragedy turning into determination and steadfast support for the RNLI. The late Audrey Lawson Johnston was rescued from the Lusitania disaster in 1915 and this inspired her and her family to become fundraisers for the RNLI, raising funds for two lifeboats at New Quay.
Audrey’s grandson, Mark Hudson explained, “My Granny was just three months old when she was pulled into a lifeboat during the Lusitania disaster on 15 May 1915. The ship was travelling from New York to Liverpool and was hit by German torpedoes so quickly sank off the Old Head of Kinsale with 1,195 lives lost.
“While my Granny’s parents and brother survived, she lost her sisters Amy and Susan in the sinking. Throughout her life, Granny was relentless in her fundraising efforts for the lifeboats. Alongside her brother, the pair raised money for a new lifeboat at New Quay RNLI in 2004, and the D-class lifeboat was named the Amy Lea after their mother. Then, in 2012, my father and brother raised the funds, with the help of family and friends, for the next D-class lifeboat, named Audrey LJ.”
Roger Couch continued, “We would also like to extend our sincere thanks to the Hudson family for their long term dedication to the RNLI by raising funds for the past two inshore lifeboats in New Quay, the Amy-Lea and the Audrey LJ. Since 2004, those lifeboats have served us well and have saved many lives at sea. Today, we bid farewell to the Audrey LJ after many launches, rescues and fond memories.
“The family’s support does not end there. Earlier this year, they raised over £25,000 towards our Shannon appeal with the Audrey’s Farewell Tour de Dyfed cycling challenge. We would like to give a big thank you to the Hudson family and the Audrey’s Farewell team for their fantastic support.
“We now look forward to the official naming and dedication ceremony of the D-866 Will Morgan, which will take place on Saturday 11th May and becomes a double celebration, with the official naming ceremony of the all-weather Shannon class lifeboat, the Roy Barker V, taking place on the same day. It will be a big day of celebration for New Quay and the Ceredigion coastal community.”