TRIBUTES have been paid to caring and loving mother who has died at the age of 88.

Irene Joan Haggis died peacefully in hospital on July 23.

The daughter of Walton man Walter Jonas Oxley, she was born in the town in 1928.

Her family lived near the seafront with both her father and later her husband working on the lifeboats.

Irene contributed to the RNLI herself and would often get out of bed in the middle of the night to wake up crew members in the event of an emergency.

She was also known in the town for having a pet seal Sammy who would go swimming with her in the sea, follow her round like a pet and sleep under her kitchen table.

Her son, Kevan Haggis 49, said his mother always cared for animals when she was younger and was always wanting to save the sea birds.

Kevan said: “She was caring, she used to take Sammy swimming down on the beach and the holidaymakers would come to watch her.

“She loved animals and in the Fifties and Sixties she wanted to save the sea birds and she used to wash them with fairy liquid to wash the oil off their feathers.”

Irene married her husband Ken Haggis in 1949 and they opened the fish shop Sea Dainties in Newgate Street, Walton.

Her family have a long history with the lifeboat association and Irene regularly contributed.

“She was living at home near the lifeboat house and when the lifeboat guns used to go off the crew never heard it,” he said.

“My mum used to go out in the town in the middle of the night to wake the crew up so they could go out on rescue missions.

“She spent all of her life in this area, she will always be remembered in Walton by the older folk.”

Irene leaves behind five sons, Kevan, Terry, Tony, Gary and Brian, five grandchildren and great-grandchildren At her funeral held at the Weeley Crematorium on Tuesday a lifeboat association flag was laid over her coffin in tribute to her work to the RNLI.