A touching homecoming

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The ashes of a former Arbroath man came ‘home’ as part of a poignant ceremony at the town’s harbour wall, writes Matthew Wyllie.

The volunteers at Arbroath RNLI received an unexpected guest recently when Mrs Margaret McHardy from Stafford, along with several family members, visited the lifeboat.

They were given a tour of the facility and both lifeboats by the crew, but there was a special reason behind the visit as they had come to scatter the ashes of Mrs McHardy’s late husband from the harbour wall.

William Robby McHardy was from the town and Mrs McHardy recalled the times she came to Arbroath with him.

“Bill left Arbroath when he was 22 to start his career in the RAF, which lasted for 26 years.

“He travelled the world but on his return we always had to go to Arbroath and it was a family joke that the first thing we always had to do was go to the harbour to make sure it hadn’t moved! So that, and his love of the sea, made the choice of where to spread his ashes very easy.

“We all had a thoroughly enjoyable time at the lifeboat station and took great comfort from the crew that were present.”

Before leaving the station, she presented the lifeboat crew a cheque of £1,000 in memory of Mr McHardy.

Alex Smith, Arbroath lifeboat operations manager said: “We didn’t know that Margaret and her family were intending on visiting, but luckily a few of the guys were there and able to give them a tour round the station and both our lifeboats. It is a fantastic and generous gesture for which we are extremely grateful and the donation will go towards providing vital training and equipment for the crew. I know Margaret is due to visit Arbroath again later in the year with a friend so we all look forward to seeing her then.”