A WELL-known member of the New Brighton community, Phil Hockey MBE, has died aged 83.

Mr Hockey, who passed away on Thursday, was a member of the resort's RNLI branch for over half a century and came from generations of Hockeys involved with the sea.

His father was a Master with the Pacific Steam Navigation Company and his grandfather was Pier Master at New Brighton.

He originally joined the Merchant Navy and was then apprenticed to the Liverpool Pilot Service where he spent all his working life.

"This was during the very busy period after WW2 when the River Mersey was one of the most important rivers in the world," said New Brighton's RNLI member Frank Brereton.

"On his retirement Phil and wife Joy also ran the Retired Pilots Association - the Seagulls.

"He joined the New Brighton Lifeboat Station as crew member in the early 1950s and was still a member up to his death, having been Deputy Launching Authority, Station Honorary Secretary and finally Station Honorary Press Officer.

"His involvement was warmly enjoyed by all at the Lifeboat Station as he himself enjoyed 'the best club in the world' as he often said.

"This was coupled with his river involvement on the converted Manchester Ship Canal barge 'Black Abbot of Mersey', which following much work and expense, was always available as a River Mersey ambassador.

"It was used on so many occasions, particularly sailing regattas, River Festivals, Tall Ships visits - in fact any promotion of the River Mersey.

"He and his family gave so much time at these events and he was recently awarded the MBE.

"He was a great seaman and a superb representative of Merseyside - to many, perhaps, he will be remembered as 'Phil Hockey of Mersey'. May he rest in peace."

Mr Hockey is survived by his wife Joy and their daughters April and Jane, and their families.

His funeral service will take place on Thursday, January 28, at 1.30pm at St James Church, New Brighton.