Crossing the Bar

John was a Governor member and supporter of the RNLI for most of his adult life. Thanks to the crew of the Harwich Lifeboat Station, on Saturday 17 September Jenny, Amanda and Josie went out on the Albert Brown, the Severn class all weather Lifeboat, to scatter his ashes in the sea off Ha’penny Pier, where he had so often sailed. It was a gusty day, and it was clearly going to take a strong crew and much engine power to manoeuvre the boat safely away from its berth on the quay. But after some deliberation the decision was made to go ahead. We were allowed to board and at 10.30 a.m. the boat set off into the middle of the Harbour for the ceremony.

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We set off on the Lifeboat. It’s a bit choppy.

Against the background of the Felixstowe cranes, the three of us were helped into the foot well at the side of the boat. Up above, the Coxswain read out the moving Tennyson poem ‘Crossing the Bar‘ which was read also at John’s Thanksgiving Service. Then while the lifeboat held still for a few moments, we scattered his ashes into the sea, followed by lavender and roses from our gardens. We all said a short prayer together, remembering John with love and thanks for all that he had meant to us and to so many others, and for all he had achieved throughout his life.

All this time our friend Richard, with his crew Lynne, accompanied us in Richard’s boat ‘Zoe‘ and they also marked the spot with flowers. The lifeboat circled around the flowers for a while before returning to the berth. The rest of the family, Neil, Martin, Isha, Gillis, Elliot and Rachael, were waiting for us in the crew room with its balcony overlooking the harbour, from where they had been able to watch us the whole time.

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Zoe‘ accompanies the Lifeboat

We are all very grateful to the Harwich Lifeboat Station for enabling us to say goodbye to John in such an appropriate way. We are so grateful too to all of you who made donations to the RNLI in John’s memory. The total amount raised so far in this fund is over £2000.

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