Thank you very much, Boss of Volunteers, Basil who posts me a copy of the ‘Order of Service’ for the recent Celebration of Life for Catherine De Bont. This contains some lovely pictures of Catherine and looks like it was a fine and dignified, appropriate service. It featured my favourite hymn, “Eternal Father, strong to save”. I am a Hastings lad, and we grew up knowing the sounds of the lifeboat launch maroons. If ever they had been heard and the lifeboat launched we would sing this hymn in School Assembly. Ah well. Well done to all those involved in the service and the Celebration of Life. She was a wonderful lady and will be much missed.
Readers may not be so aware that Catherine was a good Friend of Cambria going back years; certainly to well before I became involved in 2007. She was an expert journalist and wrote regularly for the magazine “Traditional Boats and Tall Ships” and it was in one of these pieces, also posted to me by Basil, that she covered the forced move of Cambria, in her lighter, from the Dolphin Yard in Sittingbourne, to the Sheerness Docks (“Cambria on the Move” by Catherine De Bont, Trad Boats and Tall Ships, March 2006).
It’s a lovely piece again with plenty of nice pictures which I am guessing are also by Catherine – she was certainly handy with a camera. One of my few person to person memories of Catherine actually involves a camera – we were at a lecture in Rochester by Jim Lawrence and she spotted that I was nipping about with my reasonably priced Canon EOS digital camera. She passed me her own top-of-the-range camera and asked me to take a few for her from the back while I was moving about. She was already a ‘celeb’ to me – beginner barge-fan that I was, so I was a bit star-struck, but I hope I got some nice pics for her. I never did find out.
Ah well. Rest in Peace, Catherine. Fiddler’s Green?