Derek George: a tribute from his family - blog post image

Derek George: a tribute from his family

  • Caister Lifeboats
  • 30 Jul 2020

The highlight of Derek George’s life was a trip on the River Thames.

It was 2012 and he stood on board the Caister Lifeboat in the pouring rain and with the crew saluted Her Majesty The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in the Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

It was as the secretary of the independent lifeboat station, of which his ancestors served as crew, that he organised that trip.

With his family watching from Battersea Park, Derek took immense pride in the lifeboat, its history, its day-to-day running and its future.

He’d joined as secretary in 1996, having been asked to do a “small job” by Harry Pascoe, a member of the original crew that saw Caister carry on after the station was closed in 1969.

It was a role Derek fulfilled for 24 years; conducting lifeboat business until he was admitted to hospital a fortnight before he passed away.

Derek’s great grandfather Charles Bonney George, was among the casualties of the Beauchamp lifeboat disaster in 1901.

He told the story how his ancestor was the only crewman not to be recovered within 24 hours; how five months later his body was found washed up on Kessingland beach; only recognisable by the darning of his socks.

He told that, and many other lifeboat stories to thousands and took pride in giving talks on the history of Caister Lifeboat.

Derek gave over 600 presentations to  groups of adults and children who were invited to the shed, where they’d perform dramatisations and operate the capstan.

Passionate about giving children and young people the best start in life, Derek was a governor at the Caister Infant School for many years.

And older children benefited from Derek’s expertise in his career as an engineer. He was chairman of the Norwich-based East Anglian Group for Industrial Training – EAGIT – which worked with many businesses to train young engineers.

At the age of 18, having completed his A-levels, Derek served his apprenticeship with The Advanced Tool and Machine Company in Great Yarmouth.

Upon completing his training he quickly landed a job at Laurence, Scott and Electromotors in Norwich, where he worked for 38 years until he retired, having become manufacturing manager under the ownership of MSI Defence Systems. 

His knowledge and understanding of engineering never left him.

Whether it was making frames for the Caister Stitchers, of which his wife Vivienne is a member, to installing central heating to St Edmunds Church in West Caister, to building the audio story players for the Caister Lifeboat Experience. 

Derek loved a problem because he knew how to fix it, and enjoyed the challenge and would always respond when he heard the words: “Derek, can you just…”

Derek George died in the James Paget Hospital, aged 82, having fought cancer. He leaves his wife, Vivienne, three sons and five grandchildren.

His funeral will be held on Monday 10th of August at 11am at Holy Trinity Church, with the cortege stopping briefly at the lifeboat station before the service.

In accordance with the Government’s Covid-19 restrictions, only family members can attend the church service.

Flowers from family only, Derek’s family have asked that any donations are made to Caister Lifeboat.

As an independent Lifeboat we depend entirely on donations

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