It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of John Lawrence.
It is very likely that a lot of current Members do not know of John’s huge input to the Club. The Club suffered a devastating fire in November 1987 and John (as Rear Commodore Amenities as it was known then) took up the baton and the result is the clubhouse that we now all enjoy.
The fire took out the whole of the bar area, which had to be totally rebuilt, and smoke damage blackened all of the Club’s internal timbers. If you look carefully into the corners of the logs making up the walls, that is not dirt but smoke damage.
At that time the Club had very little money. There was no pontoon at the time of the fire and the membership was about 300; keen sailors but little social activity. The bar front (pre fire) was where the bar back is now and ceiling the same height as the dining area now. It was acknowledged that it was “a bit of a barn” to the extent that there was a curtain across the middle of the Club in an attempt to make it cosier.
The easy option would have been to re-instate as before but John had far better and forward looking ideas. However, the Club had no money. This did not deter John who secured a brewery loan of £10,000 to cover the cost of the refurbishment.
The ceiling was lowered, the bar moved to its current position, new settles and tables procured, the bar area seating installed. All is today largely as originally installed by John.
Meantime it was important to keep the Club going. The current steward’s flat became the bar. This was manned by volunteers and became a very social site – organised and overseen by John. It has to be said that John did all this while still running a very successful water treatment business.
Despite transferring his greater energies to the now very successful Helford River Gig Club of which he and Carol were the founding force and driving energy for many years, John always remained faithful to HRSC. John’s and Carol’s contribution to our very longstanding international L’Aber Wrac’h Race is worthy of an award in its own right.
Helford River Sailing Club is hugely indebted to John. He will be sadly missed.
John’s funeral is to be held at St. Anthony Church at 2pm on Friday 20th March 2015 and afterwards at HRSC.