Tribute To William Bernard Chudleigh 1929 – 2012

Bernard Chudleigh coxing the under 16’s crew in July 2009 during Prince Charles and Camilla’s visit

A popular islands’ man has died at the age of 83.

William Bernard Chudleigh was on Tresco, on 25th February 1929, the fourth of five children.

He had a happy childhood on the island, leaving Tresco school at 14 to serve an apprenticeship in the Abbey Gardens.

At the age of 18, he was called up for national service and joined the 2nd Battalion of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, spending most of his two years service in Malaya, based in Penang. He enjoyed his time abroad even though some of the jungle warfare and humid conditions were far from pleasant.

When he returned to civilian life in 1950 he went back to gardening, first in Wiltshire before returning to live on St Mary’s. He worked on the pleasure boats for the Thompsons during the summer and farmed during the winters for the Banfields at Holy Vale and the Davisons at the Garrison.

He met his wife Daphne in 1953, while she was on the islands recuperating from an illness and they married later that year. Their only child, Fiona, was born in 1955.

Bernard was a very keen gardener and could turn his hand to most things, even building his own house, High Pines, at McFarlands Down in 1960.

He had two great loves in his life, Daphne and his boat, the Mermaid, bought shortly before they were married. They enjoyed 56 seasons boating together.

Bernard became involved with the gigs in his late 40’s and soon saw himself as the font of all knowledge in the gigs. He coxed various men’s and ladies crews, helped with the maintenance of the gigs and the building of the gig sheds. He also lent a hand to both his brother Tom and his son-in-law Pete, ‘holding on’, nailing and painting their gigs.

Bernard had a very strong character. He had an opinion on most things and would readily debate local and national politics. His strength kept him going in a most incredible way through his illness and caring for Daphne for almost the last 10 years of his life.

As Bernard’s illness caught up with him and he had to lead a quieter life style, he became an accomplished artist and enjoyed sketching with watercolour pencils. Even with cataracts and failing eye sight, he managed to produce some very good drawings, usually of boats or animals, which enjoyed giving to family and friends.

In Scilly, Bernard leaves his wife Daphne and his daughter and son-in-law, Fiona and Peter Martin; in Brighton, his grandson Richard Dallimore; in South Brent, Devon, his sister Eva; and in Perth, Australia, his brother Robert.

Bernard’s family would like to thank the hospital staff for their loving care and professionalism during his long stay in St. Mary’s Hospital and all friends that gave him love and support during his time in hospital, both here and on the mainland.

They also thank Noel Shaw for being his constant companion in the next bed, John and Julia Bowden for their friendship and the use of their ‘warm room’, Charlie and Eileen Mudge for being another stop-off point on the steep hill and the girls at Sibleys and Park House for making a fuss of him!

Bernard’s funeral will be taking place at 1.30pm on Saturday at the Parish Church. Reverend Charlie Gibbs will take the service and the burial will be for family and close friends only. The family request all donations go to the St Mary’s Hospital League of Friends or Prostate Cancer charities.