Pager alerts during funeral service for former RNLI man Ron Blay

Ron Blay

By Karen Cox

On Saturday (March 16) at the Ramsgate Sailors Church the funeral service was held for Ron Blay, a familiar face around Ramsgate Harbour where he fished, skippered the Dredger and served for 33 years with the RNLI.

Ron loved nothing more than a practical joke, and so it would have amused him immensely when after the opening music had been played and just as the Vicar started to read the eulogy Coxswain Ian Cannon’s pager phone went off loudly with a call for a launch. Ian attempted to leave the service quickly but struggled to open the door giving him an agonising few seconds of embarrassment.

As the second attempt at the eulogy began, loud announcements of an imminent lifeboat launch were broadcast around the harbour interrupting the funeral for the second time and leaving the Vicar having to shout over the noise.

Being the family of a volunteer lifeboatman, everyone saw the funny side especially when Ron’s love of pranks was mentioned in the eulogy. They also went on to tell Ron’s favourite story from his days on the lifeboat which involved rescuing someone from the water at night. The crew were alerted to the casualty’s location in the dark by a gull sitting on the top of his head, leading Ron’s often repeated claim that he’d witnessed a gull saving someone’s life!

It turned out that the launch was to a swimmer in difficulty in Pegwell Bay. Once the inshore lifeboat arrived on the scene they found that the swimmer was safely ashore and in no danger and so it was stood down and returned to Ramsgate Lifeboat Station.

This allowed Ron’s ashes to be scattered at sea by the Lifeboat later that day whilst his family and friends watched from the East Cliff. A fitting way to say goodbye to someone who will be sadly missed by family, colleagues and friends.

Ronald Fredrick Charles Blay 1935-2023.

Ramsgate RNLI marks the passing of former crewman Ron Blay

1 Comment

  1. R.I.P. Ron. I expect the vicar could be clearly heard in the Sailors church which is more than the congregation at the Thanet crematorium could, the volume on the speakers was too low afterwards everyone’s asking what had been said by the person conducting the service. The superintendent at the crematorium must know what volumes are needed for everyone to hear what being said.

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