A91-YEAR-OLD Timsbury resident who lived life to the full has died suddenly at his village home. There was rarely a dull moment for Don Buckwell who in his eighties wrote two extensive volumes recording his life.
Born in Dovercourt, Harwich, Mr Buckwell soon decided he wanted to follow his father to sea and join the Royal Navy but colour blindness prevented this. Instead he decided to serve an apprenticeship in the Naval Dockyards and moved to Sheerness.
He learned many practical skills as a shipwright which served him well throughout his life.
He maintained a great taste for boats, the sea and travel and together with first wife Jessie spent time moving between many seaports in areas such as Tyneside, Rosyth, Londonderry, Singapore, Auckland and the Falklands, where he was sent to sort out the docking facilities.
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Finally he got the promotion he had been aiming for and came to the MoD in Bath where he put down anchor before he retired in September 1981.
Having moved to Timsbury Mr and Mrs Buckwell soon took a full part in village life. When Mrs Buckwell was diagnosed with a serious kidney disease and had to go on dialysis her husband looked after her at home until she died in 1989. Just over three years later he married widow Margaret Hatherell and they enjoyed 20 happy years together travelling extensively and particularly enjoying their cruises.
Mr Buckwell loved to learn new skills and planned everything in great detail. As trustee and secretary of Timsbury Youth Club he was fully committed and built a set of cupboards for the building. He was chairman of the local Alzheimer's Society, enjoyed a game of short mat bowls and until he was 90 travelled every week to Castle Cary for sequence dancing.
The funeral service at St Mary's Church Timsbury was conducted by the former village rector, the Rev Chris Hare, and included tributes from his four children, Diana, Marion, Allan and Derek who survive him together with his widow, eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. The family said the recurring theme in the sympathy cards and letters they received was that he was a "real gentleman".
Son Allan said: "Dad was polite and honest and had a wry sense of humour. He always had a cheerful word for whoever he met and would chat to anyone next to him in a queue. We were very proud of him and will miss him a great deal."