Former Council Chairman And ‘Warm, Kind Man’ Passes Away

roy_duncanAnother great Scillonian has gone. Former Council Chairman Roy Duncan passed away at the weekend, following a short illness.

Christine Savill, who also held the post of Chairman, has led the tributes to Roy.

Chris says that his personal values and standards underpinned all that he contributed as a councillor. She says that Roy was truly independent, looked objectively at all issues and brought experience, wisdom, challenge and a sense of humour to the chamber.

He was liked and respected by all his fellow councillors, and Chris admired Roy’s ability to leave differences of opinion behind once the debate had ended.

Roy was popular with the electorate too and regularly topped the polls in Council elections.

Speaking to Radio Scilly last year, he says he knew he wanted to do the best for his community at an early age. He became Scilly’s youngest councillor aged 21 and went on to lead the Council.

As Chairman, he was determined to get the best deal for islanders. When the government announced plans to sell off the islands’ lifeline helicopter service he led a delegation to meet the aviation minister because he was worried we’d be left without an air service. Skybus hadn’t started then.

The minister wasn’t interested so Roy made it clear he’d hold the government and his party responsible if it went wrong.

Roy’s service to the community included time as a magistrate. And like his father, he was also a lifeboat crewmember, a position he held for 13 years.

Roy recounted how some of those rescues were extremely tough and said on several occasions he “didn’t expect to come back.”

He was well known to visitors as the operator of the Golden Spray tripper boat, which he bought in 1967. In fact hospitality and boating was in Roy’s blood. Born at Mincarlo in 1948, he grew up in the family guesthouse.

Throughout his 40 years as a boatman, he was passionate about good customer service. Roy always adored Scilly and loved being able to share his knowledge of the islands with visitors, who he said felt like “family and friends.”

He was a skilful performer, as a musician and actor. A founder member of the St Mary’s Theatre Club, he was encouraged to play a dame in this winter’s panto, which he enjoyed immensely.

Both locals and visitors knew of the role he played in Scilly’s best-loved music group, the Steamband, where his drumming earned him the nickname of ‘Ringo.’ Last January, the group played their biggest concert at the Hall for Cornwall.

Fellow band member Terry Ward says the reason for Roy’s popularity was that he was a kind, warm man.

Terry said at the time of the concert, he knew he wasn’t well but he threw himself into the performance and it was probably the finest he’d ever heard Roy play.

Roy liked people and people liked him back. He was a gentleman, says Terry, and he lived his life by his own high standards.

Summing up Roy’s contribution to Scilly, Christine Savill said that the community was very fortunate to have had his influence on our Council over many years and he will be greatly missed.

Radio Scilly will broadcast an extended, hour-long interview with Roy, which was recorded last year, after 9am on Sunday.

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