woensdag 24 augustus 2016

Ventnor, Seawall between Wheelers Bay and Bonchurch, Stella Margaret Williamson

On the Seawall between Wheelers Bay and Bonchurch you can have a wonderful walk. On the seawall there are a few benches, only two with a plaque. The bench dedicated to Mrs.Stella Margaret Williamson is at a lovely spot. From here you have a magnificent view on the sea.

Stella Margaret Williamson was born in 1912 from William Healing, a violinist at His Majesty's Theatre and his wife Maggie. She had two sisters and one brother.

                            Mrs Williamson worked some time in a bookstall similar to this one

After leaving school she worked in the family shop and at a Whitehall Court bookstall in London.  It was here that she met George Bernard Shaw and Cole Porter. She is mentioned in the biography Michael Holroyd wrote about Shaw.

After she moved to the Isle of Wight she married Edward Howe, who was a patient in the Royal National Hospital in Ventnor. Until he died she managed several businesses. She had a shop for patients and was a host at the Conservative Club in Ventnor. After the war she ran a guest house in Ventnor.

In 1948 she married Patrick Evans, who was a producer for Dutch National Radio. She moved with him to Hilversum. The marriage did not last long and she returned to Ventnor. She married a third time: now to Bill Williamson, who was a civil engineer. He was a builder of nuclear bunkers. The couple moved around the country, but in 1985 they returned to Ventnor.

Mrs.Williamson was a keen gardener but was also very active in singing and acting. She was a member of a couple of choirs on the Isle of Wight and drama groups.  She also started a pottery in Ventnor.

In earlier life she was one of the pioneers of  Meals on Wheels and was interviewed about that on the BBC Today program in 1977.

She leaves her husband behind, four children, many grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.

A better spot for a possible bench dedicated to her is hard to find.

                                          View from the bench


vrijdag 19 augustus 2016

Steyne Road, bench at busstop

This bench has been dedicated to the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 2012.
The Queen was born in 1926 and is since 6 February 1952 Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New-Zealand. That day her father, King George Vl died.

                                          2 June 1953, coronation of Elizabeth II.

The jubilee was celebrated in a big orchestrated celebration in London.
Top of the show was of course the balcony scene, where you can see the Royal family.

                                          Diamond Jubilee

By now Queen Elizabeth is one of the longest reigning monarchs in the world; only King Bhumibol of Thailand has been on the throne for a longer period.

                                          King Bhumibol of Thailand

It doesn't look like she will step down voluntarily. To me it looks like it's impossible that Prince Charles would be the next King. Getting divorced and getting remarried to a divorced woman was always a guarantee that you could never be King in the United Kingdom. So quite obvious Prince William will be the next King. King William IV, if I'm not mistaken.

donderdag 18 augustus 2016

Steyne Road, bench at the busstop

Mrs.Enid Mary Sainsbury, nee Watson died aged 96 in 2007. This bench was presented to the community in 2001.

Mrs.Sainsbury was born in 1910 as a child of Frank and Annie Watson. Frank and his brother Sidney were founders of the Watson Estate Agency, what later became Watson, Bull and Porter and later Watson Grocery Stores and Post Office. Nowadays it is Lily's Cafe and Shop.

Lily's Cafe and Shop

Enid Mary Watson was a gifted violin player. She won many prices at the IW Musical Competition.
She played on many occasions.
In 1934 she married minister Kenneth Sainsbury. The couple lived for 24 years in Colchester, Essex.
They got three children. Mrs.Sainsbury was a very active minister's wife and was a member of the church choir.

After Kenneth Sainsbury retired, the couple returned to Seaview. Mrs.Sainsbury played in the IW Symphony Orchestra from 1983 to 1995, when she had to give up playing the violin.

                                          Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra

Shortly after that the couple went back to Colchester, to be nearer the children and grandchildren.
Mr.Sainsbury died there in 2004.

Mrs.Sainsbury supported lots of good causes, like the IW Donkey Sanctuary and the Fellowship of Reconciliation.
She died in 2007, leaving behind three children, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

donderdag 11 augustus 2016

Bench near the pier of Bembridge, David John Cooper

David John Cooper died in 2015 at the age of 76 in St.Mary's Hospital in Newport.
He was a very much loved husband, father and grandfather.
In his working days he was a clerk in the Parishes of Theddlethorpe, Saltfeeltby, Skidbrooke, South Somercotes and Elkington.

The bench has a nice view on the pier of Bembridge and is offering a sight on the lifeboat if it's sailing out from the pier.

dinsdag 9 augustus 2016

Seaview, High Street, Family Hersey

Alan Hersey was born in 1931 and died in 1999. 
To honour this former renowned County Councillor an area of great beauty has been named Alan Hersey Nature Reserve; it is in Nettlestone and Seaview and famous for being an extensive bird hide. It's a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

                                          View on the Alan Hersey Nature Reserve

Mrs.Robyn Hersey died in Wootton, in a nursing home, aged 70 in 2010.
She was born in Colchester, Essex and moved to the Isle of Wight in 1949 when her father became head herdsman in Mottistone.
She went to school in Ryde and to college in Portsmouth.

                                                      Mrs.Robyn Hersey

Mrs.Hersey had a passion for athletics and made it to being the champion hurdles for Hampshire County.
After her active years in sports she went coaching athletics, starting with her own children.
Later she became a PE teacher at Bembridge School.
She retired when the Bembridge School and Ryde School were combined.

Alan Hersey and Robyn married in 1956 in St.Peter's Church in Seaview. 
She was a member of the Seaview Regatta Committee and ran the regatta-tug-of-war competition. The winner got the Hersey Shield, named after her husband.

                                          Seaview Regatta in 1985

When Mrs.Hersey died she left four children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild behind.

This plaque was - as I presume -  placed on the same bench to honour the grandparents of Alan Hersey, the County Councillor. He must have been fond of his grandparents.

                                         View from the bench. It is the old spot from where the regatta was started.

Seaview, High Street, Des Saunders

This bench on the High Street of lovely Seaview is dedicated to Desmond Saunders, who clearly was loved very much by his family.
Mr.Saunders was born in 1934 in Birmingham and died in 2008 after a long illness.

He started his working life as a trainee in administrative work for the Birmingham City Council.
In 1964 he was appointed as housing improvement officer for Oxford City Council. He went for the job interview during his honeymoon, just being married to his love Diane.

Four years later he made a big step in his career, becoming senior health department officer in Winchester for Hampshire County Council and two years after that he went to Leicester to get a similar position.
One year later, in 1971, he and his wife moved to the Isle of Wight. He became the deputy director of social services for the island. A job he kept till his retirement in 1990.

He was a member of the Nettlestone and Seaview Parish Council for four years, of which he was the chairman for three of these.
He was not a person for doing nothing, so he had a very active life. He was a keen golfer and not surprising became the chairman of his golf club, Ryde Golf Club as well.
He was also a member of the Brading Yachts Club, loved sailing.

Besides all this he enjoyed gardening, skiing, swimming and playing badminton.

He leaves behind his wife, three daughters and eight grandchildren. One of his daughters, Collette, is a press secretary to the Queen.

Appley Beach, second bench, family Padwick

This bench on Appley Beach marks a special spot for the family Padwick. They all loved coming over here, enjoying the lovely beach and the great view on the Solent.

Denis Padwick was born in Romsey, Hampshire in 1914. He was a man of many talents and he tried some for various jobs before making his final choice.
He started studying accountancy before becoming a psychiatric nurse. In the mid-1930s he joined the police force and was stationed in Basingstoke.
He married his beloved Lena and together they got three children.

In 1950 Denis Padwick, now a Sergeant at the police and his family moved to Hayling Island. In the mid-1950s the family moved again, now to the Isle of Wight, after Mr.Padwick being promoted to Inspector. They found a nice house in Ryde.

Inspector Padwick made it to international news when he had to create a makeshift mortuary in Parkhurst for the fifteen victims of the crash of the Aquila flying boat in Chessell.

                                          The crash site of the Aquile flying boat

His job forced him off the Isle of Wight, first he went to Lyndhurst as a Chief Inspector and he ended his career at the police force in 1964 as a Superintendent where it all started: in Basingstoke. After his retirement he worked 15 years for the Ministry of Defence in security.

Mr.Padwick was not a man who would do nothing, so after this retirement he filled his days with singing, giving talks, cross-stitching an writing his memoirs. In 2006 he moved back to the Isle of Wight, to Bembridge, to be closer to daughter Pat and her family. Daughter Janet died in the same year.

He became ill in 2008 and was treated in St.Mary's Hospital in Newport where he died quite soon after. He left behind two children, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Quite a lot of people on the island will have memories of his contribution to the commemorations at the 50th anniversary of the Aquila disaster in 2007.

zondag 7 augustus 2016

Appley Beach, down at the beach, bench 4: Yana

The bench for Yana's memory is perfectly located, but I can imagine she would have been pleased with lots of other spots too.


Yana was born Pamella Guard in 1932 in Romford, Essex, she died in 1989 in London.
She was a big star in the 1950s and 1960s as a singer and as a model. In 1956 she even got her own tv series with the BBC. She also appeared in lots of tv shows on ITV.

Through the 1960s and 1970s she was a regular in pantomimes, starring together with artists like Norman Wisdom and George Formby. According to her colleagues she was the sweetest person in show business, loved by everybody.

                                                  Yana with Tommy Cooper

In 1961 she was in the news when she offered her car to be used by Yuri Gagarin, the Russian Kosmonaut when he visited the United Kingdom, three months after his historic journey into space. Her car had a personalised number plate YG 1. (For Yana Guard).

She made it also to the big screen and starred in two films: "Zarak" and "The Cockleshell Heroes". 

At the end of the 1970s her star had faded and she was forced to sell a lot of her belongings. Even her much loved car was sold. In the 1980s she could be seen working at the til of a Boots, the chemist shop, in London. She was found and featured once more in a nostalgia tv show called "Where are they now?" Her latest "show" was demonstrating a slimming machine in a Harrods department store.
She died in 1989 from cancer of the oesophagos, far too young being only 57 years.
Even if you try it is almost impossible to buy any records of the once famous Yana.


Yana did quite a lot of shows in towns around the Solent, she loved the area.
It really amazed me that the bench hardly gave anything away about the artist.
She must have been loved by many, how is it possible to become so forgotten?
This is one of her songs, from 1957: https://youtu.be/jDChEpiKPhI

I'm sure she would have loved the view from the bench dedicated to her.

Appley Beach, down at the beach, bench 7: Alan Miles

A lovely spot has been chosen for the bench dedicated to Alan Miles, from Ryde. From here you have a great view on the Solent. In the summer time the beach is bustling with life, people enjoying the beach.

                                                      Alan Miles

Alan was born in 1941 in Brighton. As a boy of 16 he joined the merchant navy, which brought him to faraway places, like Australia and India. After this period he became working in the safety business, becoming an expert in fire alarm and intercom equipment. For his job he visited the Channel Islands quite often and really loved it over there. In 1972 he fell in love with another island: the Isle of Wight, so he moved to Ryde. In 1973 he started his own business in safety equipment: Island Fire Alarms.

The business has been taken over by his son Philip after he retired.
Mr. Miles was married to Leslye and got three children. When he died he was the proud grandfather of 5 grandchildren.

                                         View from the bench

zaterdag 6 augustus 2016

Appley Beach, down at the beach, bench 1: Aaron James Dunford

On a beautiful spot, very close to the sand of the beach, stands this bench dedicated to Aaron James Dunford who suddenly died at the age of 22 in 2015. He was from East Cowes, very much loved by his family and very popular with his friends.

His death was caused by asphyxiation as the result of chronic use of nitrous oxide, known better as laughing gas. He was a student at Brighton University and after his death 200 empty canisters of the gas were found in his room.

Later it became known that in the last months of his life he could not walk the stairs anymore because of pains in his knees caused by using the gas. It is not an offence to have the gas in possession or to us it. It can give you a short term high, because it pushes the oxygen from your lungs. But there is a big downside: it can cause a huge deficiency of vitamin B12. 

                                          Aaron Dunford 

The police investigated the tragic death of Aaron James Dunford and stated that anyone using this drug should have a good thought about it. Already the first use can cause severe damage to your nervous system. 

This "drug" is responsible for at least 17 deaths in the UK in the last 6 years.
There is a strong plea to make it illegal, but until now it's very easy to obtain through the internet. The canisters are used to make whipped cream. Maybe this tragedy will make a difference?

                                          View from Aaron's bench