The RNLI saves lives at sea.

Appreciation For Rona Bowman By David Bowers

Since I heard of Rona's death, I have been struggling to find the words to put on this page.

How can you sum up, in just a few words, someone so full of life, energy, consideration and kindness?

I met Rona first through Discovery Sailing Project. My first cruise with her on a delivery trip from Holyhead to Milford Haven. Even though she had far more experience than me, she had been rostered as my mate - and never once did she make me feel that it was really she that should have been in charge. Instead, her infectious enthusiasm for all things nautical - even including the domestic chores - jollied the crew along and ensured that everyone had a marvellous time. When, half way through the trip, we responded to a plaintive call for help from another yacht, which had lost its steering, it was Rona who insisted on going aboard - when we were safely in calmer waters - and crawled around in the bilges of the hapless victim for more than an hour until she'd repaired their steering.

In more recent years, Rona has been indispensible in helping me to extablish my own yacht, O.D.1, as a Scout sail training vessel. Together, we had climbed some way up the (never-ending) "learning curve" and no task was too much for her if it was to help the boat. It was so reassuring to know that I would arrive on board, with the crew, on a Friday evening, to find that Rona had bought all the food for the trip, rowed out to the boat to stow it, and quite probably had the kettle on and pizzas in the oven.

As she proclaimed more than once, she just couldn't help teaching. She was for ever grateful that Scouting had taken her to sea as a teenager, and she always wanted to give back to today's young people the gift of an introduction to sailing big boats.

In the weeks before she died, she had been repairing the leather glove on O.D.1's wheel, and her painstaking stitchwork will be a very visible memorial for all who come on board.

She helped and supported so many people, and was so generous with her time, that she will be sorely missed by more friends than she could imagine.

God bless you, Rona, and may your memory help the rest of us to continue your mission to introduce young people to the sea.

Added on: 7 March 2008


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