October 2021 Newsletter - Part 1
Waterlooville Men's Shed
1. Welcome to my first newsletter as the new secretary. I would like to thank John B for his handover and guidance as I find my feet. John has offered to act as a backstop for me while I settle in, balancing my full time job with my off duty time, for which I am very grateful. One of the hurdles I have to jump is getting to know all members. I had only been a member for a short while before COVID restrictions caused our Shed to close. So please, if I meet you at the Shed, please say Hi and introduce yourself.
2. I thought I would, by way of introduction in my first newsletter, give you a short précis of who I am and my background.
I was born in Brighton before it became colourful! And attended a Secondary Modern School for my CSE’s/GCE’s. That should give you an idea of my vintage. I was very keen on all sports at school but swimming was my greatest love and achieved international standard as a member of the England junior squad at 14. At the age of 16 I wanted to continue my sports and see the world so I applied to join the Royal Navy. After initial training, I joined my first ship HMS Norfolk, a county class destroyer, in 1972. I served on many ship types during my career, from destroyers to frigates and aircraft carriers to assault ships, plus shore bases both in the UK and abroad including, Jamaica, and Oman as an instructor. I worked my way through promotions before being selected for Warrant Officer I (Communications), which brought for me my first appointment as Officer in Charge of Communications in the Falkland Islands. It was a challenging task, working with all three armed services in hostile weather conditions but certainly rewarding. It brought back memories of 1982 when I was a member of the task force South Atlantic.
Having event management qualifications I was also lucky to be seconded to events including the International Festival of the Sea series, Trafalgar 200 and Carlton TV as an advisor for a TV drama about the Royal Navy. I finally had to hang up my uniform for the last time after nearly thirty-five years service in 2006. It was a job, but is also a way of life that has a major impact on family lives. Here I have been very fortunate to have a wonderful supporting wife, Jennie who I have been married to for forty-two years. We have two grown up children Louise who is an EPA to a manager of a large care home organisation and married to Andy, and Richard who is a teacher in London and is married Kate who is also a teacher. We have one granddaughter, Eliza with Richard and Kate who is now two and a half years old.
On retirement from the RN, I joined Queens Harbour Master Portsmouth staff as a Vessel Traffic Services Officer whose roll is co-ordinating the movement of shipping in the Solent and entering and leaving Portsmouth Harbour. I like to call it ‘Air Traffic Control for Ships’. I have now been on the staff since my retirement from the Royal Navy in 2006. I am still working there as a shift worker hence the reason why I am not at the Shed as much as I would like. Our control room is in Semaphore Tower.
My interests are quite varied. I am a public speaker providing talks to interested groups around Hampshire. As a keen thespian (its legal before anyone asks!) I have written and directed four plays so far which have been performed locally and one play based on ‘Allo Allo’ characters toured for four years. I played disaster prone Rene, along with directing. I am also a costumed period guide for the Kings Theatre Portsmouth and a member of their trust. I have involvement with Age Concern, our neighbours along Padnell Road, as a trustee too. Keen to help youngsters with their literacy, I regularly attend a charity called ‘Pompey Pirates’ who help with youngsters who are struggling with their reading and writing projects, even more important since school lockdowns. I enjoy swimming, walking and reading and woodwork at a very basic level. I hope to learn from the more experienced members as I spend more time at the Shed in the future.
See part 2.............
Find Waterlooville Men's Shed
Padnell Road, Cowplain, Waterlooville, Hampshire, PO8 8EH
Turn into the road to Padnel Junior School. It is the white building on the left, just before the grass.