Lifeboats in the blood as Andy follows ancestors... and daughter

Andy Coyle of the St Annes lifeboat crew with a framed picture of the 1922 crew of which his great gradfather Harry Melling was coxswain
Andy Coyle of the St Annes lifeboat crew with a framed picture of the 1922 crew of which his great gradfather Harry Melling was coxswain
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A daughter or son following their father into a job or pasttime is common enough, the earlier generation following in the footsteps of that which follows much rarer.

But a St Annes dad is set to do it for a second time – by following up joining the Lifeboat Service well into his 50s by making his debut on a tall ship.

The St Aannes lifebioat crew 1922 with coxswain Harry Melling at the centre of the back row

The St Aannes lifebioat crew 1922 with coxswain Harry Melling at the centre of the back row

After retiring from running his own garage business, Andy Coyle, of Rowsley Road, St Annes, volunteered for the Lifeboat Service’s shore crew, on which he serves as a launcher.

His decision was partly inspired by the tales daughter Christina told of her time serving with the St Annes crew some years earlier as part of her Duke of Edinburgh award stint.

Andy, however, feels he was always fated to be involved with the lifeboats, as his great-grandfather Harry Melling served with distinction with the life-saving service and was the last coxswain at its old base on Eastbank Road up to the mid-1920s.

“I am really proud of my great-grandad and I suppose joining the Lifeboats was in the blood,” he said. “It was something I always thought about but as I was running my own business, the opportunity never arose.

Coxswain Harry Melling of the St Annes lifeboat crew in the 1920s

Coxswain Harry Melling of the St Annes lifeboat crew in the 1920s

“But when I retired I thought the time was right to give it a go, especially as Christina had such a memorable time there as a student.”

After going on to study at Loughborough University, Christina, who now works as a construction engineering manager in Essex, participated in sailing on one of the Tall Ships Youth Trust’s sail training vessels – and now her dad has been selected to represent the RNLI on another of the Trust’s vessels next month.

Every year, RNLI crew members from around the country are selected for the tall ships opportunity under a scheme with shipping safety specialist Stanley House and Andy is heading to the waters around the Channel Islands for a week from October 6.

“I will be on the brig Stavros S Niarchos and Christina was on the Prince William, which is its sister ship,” said Andy. “It is quite a coincidence that Christina has sailed the Tall Ships earlier just as she was at the lifeboat house before I was,” he said.

“She has told some lovely tales about what a great experience it was and I am really looking forward to it.”