Thank you Brian
by Eddie Forrest


When Dr Brian Pickard arrived at the Walton & Frinton Yacht Club on the evening of Saturday 1st November 2014, for a quiet drink with his son and daughter, he found the bar populated by a large number of James Stevens No 14 personnel. Whilst he may have thought this unusual Brian was not aware that this gathering was in fact in his honour and was the result of covert collaboration between his son Geoffrey and me.

After much general conversation between Brian and the JS contingent, I apologised to Brian and his party and asked for their indulgence whilst the crew held a brief meeting on JS matters, explaining that it would take but a few moments and hopefully would not disturb their evening. I called the “extraordinary”, meeting to order and proceeded to speak of the importance and invaluable input of volunteers to the James Stevens project from the initial decision to recover and restore her, right through to the present day. Those with particular and special expertise and skills had made enormous contributions and one such person was Dr Brian Pickard!

Brian had agreed to be the Honorary Doctor to the James Stevens, a role that involved conducting medical examinations and issuing fitness certificates. This was a requirement of the Marine & Coastguard Agency in order for James Stevens No 14 to operate commercial trips for paying passengers. This role he discharged for several years until having to retire earlier this year.

The crew had unanimously desired that Brian’s selfless and invaluable contribution should be marked in some way, thus with grateful and affectionate thanks they presented him with items of James Stevens clothing which were uniquely personalised with the embroidered word, “doctor”.

It was very satisfying for us all to spring this surprise on Brian and to pay tribute to his contribution in some small way. Those of us who benefitted are not only grateful to him for so freely giving us his time and professional skill but will always appreciate his humanity, humour and courtesy; thank you Brian.

(Sincere thanks to Geoff Pickard for colluding, Walton & Frinton Yacht Club for their hospitality and Martin Leech for the photos)