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Courtown RNLI to honour life of Frank Watkin in lifeboat naming ceremony


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The late Frank Watkin and his passion for the sea will live on when an inshore D class lifeboat for Courtown RNLI is named in his memory this weekend.

A naming ceremony, which will take place at the lifeboat station in Courtown on Saturday May 28, will see the boat officially named ‘Frank’ in honour of a beloved husband who shared a love for the sea and sailing with his wife Kathleen.

Frank and Kathleen were married in Bishopstoke in England after Frank’s work took him from the Ford Motor Company office in Essex to the Ford Transit manufacturing factory in Southampton. He soon decided he preferred Hampshire to Essex and when the couple were married, they bought a yacht which was kept in Chichester Harbour. They spent many happy and exciting ventures both around the harbour and into the Solent.

When Frank passed away, Kathleen took some time to consider what to do with her inheritance. An educational and exciting visit to the RNLI Support Centre in Poole inspired her to donate money to a charity that saves lives at sea. Her donation paved the way for the completion of a partially-constructed lifeboat at the RNLI boatyard in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. Kathleen and her good friends Martin and Liz Bandley visited the lifeboat, which she would later name Frank in the final stages of construction.

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‘Frank’ has now found its home with Courtown RNLI, replacing the Caird Au Chuain which served Courtown RNLI for over 10 years.

Speaking about her trip to the RNLI boatyard and the lifeboat’s subsequent arrival in Courtown, Kathleen said: “It was very interesting and one of the best things I had done in years, and I am glad she (Frank) has arrived safely in Ireland.”

While Kathleen won’t be able to travel to Courtown next week, she will be represented at the ceremony by the couple’s good friends Martin and Liz.

“This is a very special occasion for our station and we are most grateful to Kathleen and her late husband for this generous gift in his memory which has funded this lifeboat, Frank,’ said Sam Kennedy, Courtown RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager. ‘Frank and Kathleen had a love for the sea and sailing and while she can’t be here today, it is important to us to know that Kathleen was able to see the lifeboat before she arrived here at her new home in Courtown.”

The ceremony will take place at Courtown RNLI lifeboat station on Saturday, May 28 at 3 p.m.