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By The Cornishman  |  Posted: April 03, 2013

John Caddy

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John Caddy, St Austell

ST PAUL'S CHURCH, Charlestown, was full to capacity for the funeral service for John Caddy, aged 70, of St Austell, which took place on February 15, followed by committal at Glynn Valley Crematorium, Bodmin.

Afterwards a celebration of John's life was held at the Rashleigh Inn, Charlestown. Canon Michael Warner officiated, providing a wonderful service and fitting tribute to John.

A poem was read by John's daughter, Michelle Hume, followed by the Cape Cornwall Singers, who sang Cornwall My Home, written by Harry Glasson.

The recessional music was played on flute by John's granddaughter, Laura Waddell. The chosen bearers were "The Friday Boys": Widge, Steve, Geoff, Richard, Dave, Durn, Alan, Cecil, Mike and Malcolm.

A guard of honour was formed by Charlestown National Coastwatch and Charlestown Gig Club.

John was a hardworking, God-fearing family man who was a softly spoken, stubborn, honest, kind and considerate gentleman.

An unassuming man of integrity who was respected by all who knew him, John was all of these things, which is why so many people held him in such esteem.

Born 1943, John was one of three children. They all lived and grew up in Marazion.

He started work when he was just 13, helping deliver groceries around the area on Saturdays.

On a Sunday it was church Sunday school and Evensong. John had the sea running through his blood and any spare time he had would see him down on Marazion beach with friends, using any boat that would float; some of them were loosely called boats, they were more like bathtubs!

But it got him onto the water and he and friends often sailed or rowed across to St Michael's Mount.

After leaving school he worked on a farm and often walked with his dad ploughing the fields with Captain the Shirehorse pulling the plough.

A strange occupation for a boy who loved the sea but back in that time you just did what had to be done to get work; the sea would have to wait until many years later.

At 16, John was able to join the sea cadets, and it was while parading through St Just one Sunday, that he met 15-year-old Jean, who was to become his wife; from that moment his fate was sealed.

He would cycle from Marazion to St Just every night after work to go courting with Jean, until at 17 he progressed to owning an AJS 350cc motorbike.

By now Jean had started to work in St Ives and he would pick her up from work – to the envy of all the workmates because to have a boyfriend with a motorbike was really something back in those days – and take her home to St Just on the coast road, because he liked the sharp corners, with Jean hanging on for dear life.

In 1961 John had to look further afield for work, so set off on his motorbike to go "upcountry".

He got as far as Birmingham (quite a journey on motorbike with no motorways) but God was looking after him and made sure he returned to Cornwall, where he finally found work near St Austell.

John lodged at Treviscoe and saw Jean at the weekends until 1964 when they married in St Just church and "emigrated" to St Austell for good; the rest is history, as they say.

Later, John worked for MCC driving heavy dumper trucks and even drove a concrete mixer for a while, but a lot of these jobs were away from home.

It was just after their first child, Michelle, was born that John decided he had had enough working away from home.

As he had always loved the sea and boats it was natural for him to buy a small trawler, the Bounty; he would drive to Newlyn every day.

He loved this life but with fishing catches falling, very little money and the birth of their second child, Timothy, he felt he had to do something with a bit more security for his growing family.

He found employment as an HGV driver fitter with Hydraplant, which later became DAC plant and worked there until he was made redundant at 62. John and Jean both enjoyed retirement.

They had a very full and happy life; he loved spending time with his grandchildren, Laura and Steven, and counted himself lucky to have all the family nearby in Cornwall.

He was never happier than when he was with his family and getting involved and hearing what they were doing, but he could not leave the sea and owned several small pleasure boats throughout his life.

He often took the grandchildren and Jean out from Par around the local coves and land to have picnics on the deserted beaches.

One such time, much to John's dismay, led to the Fowey inshore lifeboat being called out: Jean had been appointed as lookout and had assured John that the waves breaking onto the beach were only very small, and that it was safe to go in and land on the shingle!

Needless to say the boat was swamped by a large wave and it was only John's quick thinking that stopped the boat from sinking, but left Jean and grandchildren marooned on the beach! Life was never dull.

John was always a fix-and-make-it kind of man and his garage and woodworking tools were kept very busy.

He loved to have a project and had just bought a small sailing dinghy to renovate and hopefully teach Jean to sail in the summer, but unfortunately this was not to be.

John loved to work with wood and after building his own lathe he spent many hours in the garage turning pieces of wood into all sort of shapes.

He was a member of the Charlestown Rowing Club but did not take up rowing until he was 45, so had to row as a veteran, but this did not stop him from rowing from Sennen to the Isles of Scilly, a distance of some 26 miles, with an all-veteran crew, quite an achievement.

He continued to turn the wooden thowl pins necessary for the gigs, right up until his illness in January 2013.

He enjoyed singing with the Cape Cornwall Singers, and would drive down to St Just every fortnight for practice.

He loved to sail the Cornish lugger, the Happy Return, based at Mount's Bay.

He joined Cornish Cruising to gain his day-skipper ticket, which was useful when he sailed across to Brest on the lugger to take part in a sailing festival in France.

He was involved with the Charlestown Regatta and was in the carnival for many years.

He was a valued member of Charlestown National Coastwatch as a senior watchman; people would pop into the lookout to have a chat on their walks around the coast and John always took the time to explain all the different aspects of the job.

People would make John laugh when they asked him how much he was paid; they were always surprised to learn that it was all run by volunteers!

John also had an allotment and liked to grow things, but only to eat; he was not into flowers, he was a very practical man.

John and Jean loved to travel and enjoyed many holidays over the years to many parts of the world: Australia, Canada, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, Spain, San Francisco, Yosemite, Las Vegas, Scotland, Wales, Florida, and of course all over their wonderful county of Cornwall.

Family mourners were Jean, wife; Michelle and Tim, daughter and son; Peter and Holly, son-in-law and daughter-in-law; Laura and Steve, grandchildren, and little Mason; Margaret, sister; Pauline and Mike, sister-in-law and partner; Alan, brother-in-law; Terry and Sandra, brother-in-law and sister-in-law; Christopher, brother-in-law; Louise and Doug, sister-in-law and brother-in-law; Susan and Nigel, niece and husband; Patricia, niece; Anthony, Bettina and Kane, nephew, wife and great nephew; Alana, niece; Kelly and Wayne, niece and husband; Stephen, Hayley and Barry, nephew, niece and husband; Andrew, nephew.

Mike and Keftiya, brother and sister-in-law, from Singapore, were unable to attend; heartfelt apologies for being unable to attend were also received from New Zealand, South Africa, America, Australia.

The family were grateful for more than 400 friends and associations in attendance celebrating John's life, too many to mention but all extremely important to them.

Many other people also sent heartfelt apologies for being unable to attend.

Also represented were the Friends of St Paul's Church, the Cape Cornwall Singers, Charlestown National Coastwatch, Charlestown Gig Club, Mount's Bay Lugger Association, Nankersey Choir, Cornish Pilot Gig Association, Eastern Area Choir, Charlestown Regatta committee, National Coastwatch – Cape Cornwall, Falmouth Gig Club, Newquay Gig Club, Fowey Gig Club, Mevagissey Gig Club, Roseland Gig Club, Padstow Singers, Isles of Scilly, Burrows Estate Agents, Cornwall County Council, CCC Road Safety, Steve Andrews Tyres, DAC Plant, Hydraplant, MCC and Mike Best, among many others.

Thanks to Personal Choice Funerals for its support and to Critical Care for the kindness and care shown to John throughout.

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