Remembrance Sunday 2023: Two Films from Tim Curtis (We Fought Them in Gunboats & Stanley’s War)

By Julia Jones

Tim Curtis.

On November 12th 2023 the Riverside Cinema Woodbridge will show two wartime documentaries by Woodbridge-based director Tim Curtis. Tim is probably best known to RDA Journal readers for the highly successful Life on the Deben project – 6000 DVDs and Blu Rays sold in the first year, more than 15,000 cinema and festival viewers and over £5000 donations made to Deben good causes. Earlier this year (2023) Tim made a short film ‘How Polluted is the Deben?’ which was shown together with ‘A Surge of Memories’ (not by Tim) commemorating the floods of 1953 and tidal surge of 2013. Continue reading

Willow Bland – the ex-Waldringfield Cadet who’s about to race round the world

By Alice Thorogood

It’s been a BIG summer of sailing. Every year since my three children started in Cadets there has been a BIG summer of sailing. This year we’ve been to Newport in Belgium for the World Championship, a long weekend back home for the Waldringfield Cadet ‘Week’ then a quick wash of everyone’s kit before we headed off to beautiful Abersoch for the National Championship.

Sometimes I find myself asking if all this packing/unpacking and travel is worth it…

Then I see some of the wonderful things our Cadet Alumni are up to, and I know that the work we all put into Cadets – as parents or volunteers as well as sailors — is more than worth it.  We are helping to develop resilient, capable young people who will go on to achieve different successes in the future.

It was a real honour to take a break from the crazy whirlwind of The Nationals and talk to an inspirational ex-Cadet sailor who embodies more that we might have dreamed of.  Willow Bland is about to take part in the Ocean Globe Race as part of the crew of Tracy Edwards’ boat Maiden. Continue reading

George On the Quay

By Robert Simper

George Collins (from The Deben River: an enchanted waterway by Robert Simper)

I suppose the first time I remember meeting George Collins was in about 1948. This was first time I first went afloat and at young age I found nighttime trawling very exciting. We were in the open boat Lassie, built in 1924 and sadly shortly after this her owner died. Jack Garrard bought the boat and was one of first people to have a boat mooring at Ramsholt. Continue reading

Michael Rines, Annie Leech, Stephen Lines

with thanks for their enduring contributions to the Nancy Blackett Trust, Maritime Woodbridge, the Longshed, River Deben Association & Woodbridge Cruising Club

Micheal Rines (1933–2023)

Mike Rines restoring Nancy Blackett.

Peter Willis writes…

Mike Rines, rescuer and restorer of Nancy Blackett, has died, at the age of 89. He first discovered Arthur Ransome’s boat virtually derelict in Scarborough Harbour in the early 1980s. Initially unaware that she was the inspiration for We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea, and the original of the Goblin in that book, he simply saw a boat that, as he said, ‘was too pretty to die’. He eventually persuaded her owner to part with her, and had her transported back to the River Orwell in Suffolk, where the opening of the book is set, and where he himself then lived, as it happened only a few hundred yards from where Ransome had lived when writing the book. Continue reading

Working Afloat

By Ben Grundy

Last year Julia asked me to write something for the RDA Journal and I had agreed without much thought what to write about. Then in January the opportunity to become the new Chair of the Kyson Fairway committee came, and then came again an email from Julia asking if I was still interested in doing an article. Yes, I was still interested but the theme didn’t come until late April when I was voted in as the KFC chairman.

Making fast our towing gear in the “Deben” to the “MSC Tessa” on her maiden call to Felixstowe last week – Photo credit Jeff Welch photography

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Suffolk – A Haven

By Nick Cottam

Sir Nick Young, recently retired from the Red Cross, Macmillan Cancer Care and other charity work tells Nick Cottam how walking beside the Deben gave him the strength to face challenges and organise help for the victims of disaster.

The recent earthquakes in Syria and Turkey were a stark reminder of the need for emergency aid. Getting swift and effective help to where it was needed was a priority – and indeed a logistics challenge. In a new book about the Red Cross, Sir Nick Young, who lives near Woodbridge, enjoys walking beside the Deben and was Chief Executive of the agency for 13 years, provides his own take on the challenges of distributing and managing aid in the aftermath of large scale natural disaster. Continue reading

The Twelve Books of Christmas

By Julia Jones

For our last issue of the RDA Journal 2022 we offer you reading recommendations from a dozen RDA Members and Contributors to The Deben magazine. Initially we just asked for recommendations (which is why the first two are quite brief) but then we began to ask people a little more about their reading habits – what sort of books they regularly enjoyed, did they usually buy or borrow books, did they use the library? Continue reading

You Too Can Go To Sea: River Deben support for Suffolk and the Sea Day

by Julia Jones

I was sitting on a bench overlooking Suffolk Yacht Harbour at Levington and the River Orwell beyond. It was a lovely afternoon with a breeze just getting up and some classic sailing vessels on the river, contrasting with the more modern yachts moored near me and the towering cranes of Port of Felixstowe downriver. I was trying to explain to a friendly cameraman the ways in which I felt there had been such a profound shift in Britain’s attitude to her maritime heritage during my lifetime. His name’s Jon Swallow and he’s volunteered to come and record some of the sessions at the forthcoming Suffolk and the Sea Day (Felixstowe Book Festival ‘fringe’ sessions at Trimley St Mary, June 25th). We had met to discuss developing the 5th session, entitled You Too Can Go To Sea, into a film which the organisations supporting Suffolk and the Sea day could send out to schools, youth organisations, clubs, support groups. It would aim to explain that sailing and sea faring is not an exclusive activity but can be enjoyed at many levels. We want to kindle an interest and excitement in sea-going opportunities, remind people that we are not only land dwellers.

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Suffolk and The Sea – Sailors, Artists And Anglo-Saxons

by Claudia Myatt

Every spring and early summer there is a conversation between River Deben sailors that goes something like this:

‘Have you been over the bar yet?’
‘No, but I’ve got the chartlet, hoping to go round to the Orwell next weekend’
‘What’s it like this year?’
‘Shifted a bit in that storm I hear – quite narrow now.  Wouldn’t risk it until after half tide with my draft’
‘Deepest water is usually close to the beach but the tide runs hard there….’

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