Friday, 10 February 2012

Keep Calm and Carry On!

Florence Green, the world’s last surviving first world war veteran died last weekend. Florence passed away in her sleep at a care home in King’s Lynn just two weeks before her 111th birthday. Florence was only 17-years-old when she joined the Women’s Royal Air Force in the late summer of 1918.

Florence became the last surviving person to have seen active service in the first world war following the death of British-born sailor Claude Choules in Australia last year.

Florence said: “I enjoyed my time in the WRAF. There were plenty of people at the airfields where I worked and they were all very good company. I would work every hour God sent but I had dozens of friends on the base and we had a great deal of fun in our spare time. In many ways I had the time of my life. I met dozens of pilots and would go on dates. I had the opportunity to go up in one of the planes but I was scared of flying. It was a lovely experience and I’m very proud.”

Florence epitomises the values of the young men and women of the day. However, fewer than one in 1,000 of those who live to be 100 reach the age of 110. When asked how it felt to be 110, Florence said: “Not much different to being 109.” - Keep Calm and Carry On!

RIP Florence.

Graham Cook, the popular bridge pilot of Potter Heigham in Norfolk was found dead in a dyke next to the River Thurne at Potter Heigham. Graham was a popular, helpful figure to the thousands of boating holidaymakers on the Broads whose cruisers he guided through the narrow, medieval bridge at Potter Heigham. The flag at the bridge-side business was flying at halfmast as a mark of respect.

Robin and Patrick Richardson, who run the business, described Graham as “the most polite, loyal member of staff you could wish to have. His whole life was this business and he was brilliant with holidaymakers. I would think one third of visitors came and asked for Graham by name rather than for the bridge pilot.

Robin Allard, a Broads Authority ranger said: “He was expert at what he did. I knew Graham very well and he was always helpful and ready to offer advice and information on river matters. As a bridge pilot he would need to board numerous hire and private vessels at short notice and to helm them through the narrow medieval bridge which he did with considerable skill and expertise. He was a smiling face on the bankside.

I can remember arriving at Potter Heigham with our first broads hire boat on a warm summers afternoon. The bridge to me looked small and the boat looked big. As we neared the bridge hole I was thinking we are not going to be able to get through here. Step aboard Graham as pilot, as we approached the bridge with the bow well through the bridge hole, a sudden burst of power from the engine and the back end sat down in the water. The cabin roof missed the bridge by inches. I was very happy to have Graham aboard that day. The one thing I remember was that Graham was smiling and reassuring all the time.  - Keep Calm and Carry On!

RIP Graham.


1 comment:

  1. Mike, thanks for your tribute to Graham. We never met him as we always piloted our own boat through but were well aware of his unique charm and skill.


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