Lytham St Annes RNLI crew are in mourning at the loss of a long-time colleague who died aged just 32.
Kerrith Black, known to all as Kez, was a lifeboat mechanic who served for more than six years as a volunteer with Fylde’s lifeboat service.
Kez joined the Lytham St Annes RNLI crew in 2014 and three years later rose to become a lifeboat mechanic.
Kerrith ‘Kez’ Black on duty for Lytham St Annes RNLI
But he was always considered part of the “Lifeboat Family” and his dad Roy, who followed Kez into the RNLI and is head launcher at Lytham and St Annes, said his intention had always been to return to the service.
“He moved over to Preston to be with Kayleigh but the plan was for them to move back to Fylde after getting married,” said Roy.
“He loved being involved with the RNLI and he was such a popular member of the crew – he’d do anything for anyone.
“Joining the RNLI was an ambition from his schooldays. He went with his mum to the swimming baths at St Annes, next to the RNLI station at 13 and told her ‘I want to be a lifeboat man’.
“They called in, asked for advice about how he would get involved when he was older and was given some really helpful advice about what he needed to do at school and the apprenticeships to follow to become a mechanic and he followed them all.
“He was so proud when he joined up – and so were we. He and I worked together in a prestige valeting business for some years and he encouraged me to get involved when a vacancy for a launcher came up.
“It was great we were both involved – not many people can say they have launched their son out on a life-saving craft.”
Ben McGarry, a Lytham St Annes RNLI crew member who had earlier stepped up to mechanic and encouraged Kez to also take the role, said everyone at the station was absolutely shocked at Kerrith’s death.
“It was a dreadful shock when we heard of his loss – we couldn’t believe it and are so sorry for his family,” he said.
“Kez was just a really genuine lad who would do anything for anyone and really enjoyed being part of the lifeboat crew.
“He really took to the role and was aways wiling to learn and was a great guy to have around the station – a proper team player.”
A private, family-only cremation service is to be held at Lytham Crematorium and there are hopes for a ceremony is his memory at the St Annes lifeboat station, but that is still to be confirmed.
Kez, who grew up in Ansdell, was a former pupil of Ansdell Primary School and Lytham St Annes High School and a spokesman for Lytham St Annes RNLI said: “Kez was held in high regard by his fellow crew members and the station’s condolences go to his family and friends.
The crew at Lytham and St Annes are inviting donations to the service in his memory via a Just Giving page – www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lytham-st-annes-fundraising branch