Category Archives: Death notices

David Wood RIP

We were very sorry indeed to learn of the death of SSBR Committee Member, David Wood.

As well as being a long-term member of the Committee himself, David has been an enormous help to his wife, Elizabeth, in her office as our Chairman.

David has written a number of publications over the years, and members will recall that within the last few months they have received a copy of “Still in the Samphire”, the 50th anniversary history of the Society, and of “The Prowess of Charlie Fielder”.   Both of these were written by David Wood, and he has put some considerable years of work into them.   Elizabeth tells us that he was still researching and writing other material.

David died very suddenly on Friday 30th January 2015.   He was alone at their Twickenham house while Elizabeth was at her family’s home in Sussex.    She was talking to David on the telephone, when suddenly she heard a noise, he stopped speaking and she could not raise him.   She called a neighbour who went to the house, and discovered that David had suffered a heart attack which he did not survive.   It has taken a long time for the post mortem to be held, and the death certificate has only just been issued.

The funeral is to be held next week.   In accordance with David’s own wishes it is to be a small low-key occasion for close friends and family.   Donations in David’s memory if desired may be sent to the Thames Sailing Barge Trust, c/o Roger Newlyn.   Please contact us by e-mail if you need Roger’s address.     SocSailingBargeResearch@gmail.com

On behalf of the Committee and members of the Society, we send our most sincere sympathy to Elizabeth and her family.

Funeral arrangements for Gordon Swift

UPDATE  –  We now have details of Gordon’s funeral, which will be held on Wednesday 26th February, at 12 noon, at St John the Baptist Church, Metfield, Suffolk, IP20 0LA.   All are welcome to join the family to remember with them the life of Gordon Swift.

No flowers please, but donations if wished to his chosen charity, The Dawn Sailing Barge Trust.   Donations may be made via Susan Whymark Funeral Service Ltd, Chestnut House, 12 Progress Way, Langton Green, Eye, Suffolk, IP23 7HU.  

Gordon’s family would love you to join them for the service and afterwards to share your memories with them over a mug of tea.

Gordon Swift RIP

We were very sorry to hear today from Gerard Swift of the sad death Captain Gordon Swiftof his father, Gordon.

Gerard says:-

“News of the passing of my father, Captain Gordon Swift, on the 7th February 2014.

“2014 has seen the 50th Anniversary of his association with sailing barge Dawn.   He bought her when her days had come to an end as a timber lighter.   She was laid up with others at Heybridge Basin.   After re-rigging Dawn, they were able to stay together for many years.

“He sold her to Newham Council but continued to skipper her.   Sadly she needed work in the early 1990s, which was the beginning of her end.   But Gordon would not give up on her.

“He formed the Dawn Sailing Barge Trust in 1996.   With many, many people’s support and help, she sailed again in 2008, in the Blackwater Match with Gordon at the wheel once again.

“He was always happy to talk to anyone about Dawn, and if they had the time there were many tales.”

Our picture, kindly supplied by Gerard, shows Gordon’s last time at Dawn’s wheel at Ipswich in 2013.

We send the Society’s condolences to Gerard and his family.

Last December, we posted about Dawn and the latest stages of her restoration.   Read it here.

UPDATE  –  We now have details of Gordon’s funeral, which will be held on Wednesday 26th February, at 12 noon, at St John the Baptist Church, Metfield, Suffolk, IP20 0LA.   All are welcome to join the family to remember with them the life of Gordon Swift.

No flowers please, but donations if wished to his chosen charity, The Dawn Sailing Barge Trust.   Donations may be made via Susan Whymark Funeral Service Ltd, Chestnut House, 12 Progress Way, Langton Green, Eye, Suffolk, IP23 7HU.  

Gordon’s family would love you to join them for the service and afterwards to share your memories with them over a mug of tea.

Another loss – Mike Stammers

Via Peter Ferguson we have learnt of yet another loss to the barging community.   Peter has passed on the sad news that long-time member of SSBR, Mike Stammers, has died from cancer. 

Mike had a great love of and interest in Thames barges.   He and Peter had been close friends since their twenties, and shared many a week’s sailing together on Pudge and Centaur.    His maritime interests were both professional, as Keeper of Merseyside Maritime Museum, and, in retirement, bringing his vast knowledge of vessels to publishing a number of works.  

Joe Brannigan – another sad loss

These weeks either side of Christmas have been bad and sad ones for the sailing Joe Brannigan receives the Colindell Trophybarge community.

And now we hear of another loss.   Joe Brannigan, the Chairman of the East Coast Sail Trust, died on Thursday night, 31 January 2013.   Peter Phillips says he will be sorely missed by the ECST.  

Hugh Perks tells us that Joe had developed cancer, and was not looking well when he saw him just before Christmas.   

As Hugh says, Joe will be remembered for the superb effort of getting sb Thalatta rebuilt.   In recognition of that, SSBR awarded him our Colindell Trophy in May 2012.

Here’s Joe receiving the Trophy at the 2012 Annual General Meeting. 

We send our deepest sympathy to Joe’s family.

UPDATE

We have now been advised of the details of Joe’s funeral.   It will be on Friday 15 February, at 11.00am, at English Martyrs’ Catholic Church, 65 Maldon Road, Danbury, Essex,   CM3 4QL. 

No flowers, but donations, if wished, to East Coast Sail Trust Ltd.

 

 
 

Mark Boyle (1957 – 2012)

The sailing barge world was stunned by the recent news of the death at age 55 of Capt Mark Boyle, Mark Boylethe organising secretary of the Thames Sailing Barge Match, since it was revived by him to celebrate the 50th anniversary of V.E. Day in 1995.  

Mark’s love of sailing barges was kindled by the gift of a model kit when he was a child.   He built the model and was later taken to Maldon, Essex to see the real thing.   To his disappointment he realised that his model was full of inaccuracies, and on returning home he set about putting it right!  

Mark was a gifted historian with a wealth of knowledge on subjects as diverse as sailing barges and the Spanish Peninsular War.   He was also a talented author, writing articles for magazines about the sailing barges and his experiences afloat, having ‘gone to sea’ in his teens in the coasting trade aboard ex. ‘sailormen’ by then trading under power alone.   Through later years he crewed aboard the charter and hospitality barges that plied the coast, gaining his Sailing Barge Master’s ticket in 1987.  

Not content with working aboard the last of the trading barges, Mark developed his shipwrighting skills which have left their mark on many of the genre.   These include the Cabby, Dawn and, most recently, the magnificently restored Cambria to which he applied his talent and satisfied his barge preservation aspirations at the same time.   He recognised that for the restoration movement to have lasting relevance, it is equally important to preserve the environment of the sailing barge.   Sadly, the wharves and bargeyards have fallen prey to much questionable re-development, but Mark realised the equal importance of the ‘on the water’ activities, and saw an opportunity to contest the Championship of the London River again through the conduit of a revived Thames Sailing Barge Match.   

The enormity of the task before him in restoring this, the original barge match, to its rightful place in the sailing barge calendar would have scuppered many a capable organiser.   In the wake of the success of the 1995 race, there was an appetite for more.   Mark sought out the families which had played their part 100 and more years ago, with the result that the iconic names of sailing barge owners Everard, Clarabut and Goldsmith became associated with the Match once again.   The outcome of his effort and commitment is evidenced by the current series being the longest ever continuous revival of the race since its founding by Henry Dodd in 1863.  

The sailing barge fraternity has lost one of its stalwart supporters and his passing will have a significant impact in many ways.   The Thames Match committee has met and decided to continue with the organising of this year’s event, the 150th anniversary of the first, which will take place on Saturday 13th July and be known as The Mark Boyle Memorial Thames Sailing Barge Match in honour of his vision and dedication to a sailing contest almost as old as the America’s Cup.

(This tribute to Mark Boyle was written by Richard Walsh, who is Acting Match Secretary for this year’s Thames Match.   It is reproduced from the Thames Barge Match website, where the photograph of Mark also appears.) 

 

Frank Thompson – RIP

We have more sad news to record, with the death suddenly on Boxing Day 2012 of Frank Thompson, after a very brief illness.

Frank, who lived in Layer-de-la-Haye, was 92.   He was a member of SSBR and often contributed to Topsail and Mainsheet.   He and his wife, Kathleen, sailed on many barges in the days of trade, particularly  with the late Stan and Chick Yeates on board sb Glenway.

Both Richard Walsh and John White heard from Frank just before Christmas when his notes were full of news.   Indeed, he gave John a few additions for The Sailing Barge Compendium.

The funeral will be on Monday 14 January, at 12.30pm, at Colchester Crematorium.   All are welcome at the service, where Jimmy Lawrence will be performing the shanty Happisburgh Light, and afterwards at the Donkey & Buskins pub, Layer-de-la-Haye.

Details of Mark Boyle’s funeral

We have been advised that Mark Boyle’s funeral will be on Thursday 10 January, at 2.40pm, at Barham Crematorium near Canterbury, (postcode CT4 6QU).  

It is Christine’s wish that anyone who wants to come and share in this non-religious celebration of Mark’s life will be welcome.   It will be followed by a gathering at Whitstable Yacht Club.

Mark Boyle – Another great loss to the sailing barge world

A number of friends have contacted us about the very sad news of the death of Mark Boyle.

The inspiration behind the re-establishment of the Thames Barge Match and its secretary since 1995, Mark died suddenly on 19 December 2012.

As Hilary Halajko says in a comment to our previous post, December has been a sad month for the barging world.

Dick Harman and Catherine de Bont – RIP

Sadly we have to report the loss of some more leading figures of the barge community.

Dick Harman died peacefully at 4am on 13th December, following a massive stroke earlier in the year.   The funeral is to take place on Friday 21st December at 11 a.m. sharp at the Salvation Army citadel in St Osyth Road, Clacton, with the committal in Clacton cemetery (off Burrs Road) at 11.45.    Reception afterwards at the nearby pub.

We have also heard that Catherine de Bont has died.   Her funeral will be at Bobbing Crematorium on 31st December.