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BARMOUTH LIFEBOAT HERO IS LAID TO REST: My dad should not have died in the way he died, but he died in the place he loves the most ... the sea.

Byline: ERYL CRUMP

TWO of Keith Allday's daughters paid emotional tribute to their father at his funeral yesterday.

Both described their father as a hero who helped others in difficulties at sea.

Kate Allday,10, said:``My dad was a great person and a good friend. He was there for others and his friends and family. He should not have died in the way he died,but he died in the place he loves the most ... the sea.''

She thanked everyone who had supported the family since the tragic events last week.

Close to tears Emma Allday, 19, said she was proud to be Mr Allday's daughter.

She told the congregation she was once asked at primary school what she wanted to be when she grew up.

``I wanted to be as happy as my mum, with a husband as wonderful as my dad and children as satisfied with life as we always were. I have very pleasant memories of my dad.

``He taught me that. I can achieve my dreams just as long as long as I set my mind to that and am prepared to work hard. My feeling now is to become just half the person he was. I am so proud to stand up here and say Keith Allday was my father,'' she said.

Another daughter, Cassie, had written a poem which was read out at the service.

The church was packed with nearly 1,000 mourners. Among them were members of fellow Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteer Alan Massey's family,local MP Elfyn Llwyd and AM Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas and leaders from Gwynedd council.

Lifeboat colleagues carried Mr Allday's coffin,draped with the RNLI flag,into the church.

Mr Allday's widow, Gill, was supported by her son Sean, and daughter Cassie,as they entered the church just before 11am.

Paying a glowing tribute to Mr Allday, the chairman of Barmouth's RNLI branch Bob Howarth described how,last Sunday,both the resort's lifeboats had gone out to sea and had drunk a toast ``to the boss,Keith''.

``Those four words sum up how the crew felt about him,''he said.

Dr Howarth added that Mr Allday was fearless, tireless and always courteous.

``Keith's greatest legacy to our community is that for many years to come men trained by the Boss will go to sea to save lives,''he said.

RNLI Operations director Mike Vlasto said he had appointed Mr Allday as a crew member in 1988.

Describing the action as ``one of the best things he did'' Mr Vlasto said: ``Keith was an enthusiast from day one. He was keen to learn,keen to progress and absolutely passionate about the RNLI.

``He led the crew through good times and not so good times, through happiness and sadness but always as the leader. During his time as coxswain the Barmouth lifeboat has launched 394 times and rescued 383 people, a record to be very proud of.

Mr Vlasto added: ``It would be wrong not to mention Alan (Massey) in this tribute.

``He supported Keith at sea aboard the lifeboat and also in his work ashore.

``He has been a faithful servant to search and rescue in this community. May he rest in peace.''

Barmouth came to a standstill as hundreds of people lined the streets to pay their final respects as the funeral cortege made its way from St John's Church to the cemetery at Llanaber.

In a short and simple conclusion to the service Mr Allday was laid to rest. Family members paid their last respects by placing flowers on the coffin before being driven away.

Father-of-five Mr Allday, 54, drowned while laying mooring in Barmouth harbour on April 5.

Assistant harbour master and helmsman Alan Massey, 36, who was with Mr Allday at the time, is still missing,presumed drowned.

The two men had being doing routine work for Gwynedd council in the town's harbour when the tragedy happened. Two separate inquiries are currently under way into the accident.

Officials from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch of the Department of Transport have started their investigations and have been checking their 15ft dinghy which was found overturned.

Mr Allday's body was found a day after the two friends were reported missing.

A search for Mr Massey was called off later the same day but coast guard shore patrols are continuing in south Gwynedd in the hope that his body will be found.

The congregation at yesterday's funeral prayed that Mr Massey will soon be found so that he could be returned to his family.

The official opening of the town's new pounds 1m RNLI boathouse and headquarters, planned for next week,has been postponed following the tragedy.

An appeal has been launched to help the men's families but the collection at yesterday's service was in aid of the Barmouth Crew Comfort fund.

CAPTION(S):

The coffin of Keith Allday (inset)is taken into St John's Church, Barmouth,for his funeral, which was held yesterday; Mr Allday's son,Sean, widow,Gill and daughter Cassie outside the church (top),and (left)daughter Kate,10. Mourners gather at the cemetery (above)
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 17, 2004
Words:854
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