Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Brian Pepperrell (10 October 1938 - 21 June 2013) Trustee of Fairlynch Museum and Arts Centre


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Brian Pepperrell, pictured at a Fairlynch grummage sale in 2009

Most of the volunteer helpers at Fairlynch live in the immediate area of Budleigh Salterton. Brian’s loyalty to the Museum was demonstrated by his tireless devotion to the Local History Group and his willingness to attend Trustees’ meetings, despite having to travel from Dunkeswell, near Honiton. It meant making a round trip of 44 miles on a regular basis for ten years.

Brian began his education at Southville Primary School in Feltham, Middlesex. He took his 11-plus and, after achieving a remarkable 98% in Maths, he won a place at Hampton Grammar School. After a promising start he ‘left at the Headmaster's Pleasure’ at fifteen to join the RAF as an Apprentice Tradesman.

 Brian Pepperrell's RAF experience included working on aircraft like this Valiant V bomber

Photo credit: Adrian Pingstone 
 

After successfully completing his training as a Electronics, Instruments and Radar Technician at RAF Locking, Weston-super-Mare, Brian was posted to 90 Sqn. RAF Honington in Suffolk working on Valiant bombers, and later to Boscombe Down. He eventually left the RAF and began working at ICL in Reading and Putney as a Computer Engineer. This was followed some years later with a move to BAA at Heathrow as, initially, a Security Officer on the High Altitude bomb detection facility followed by the role of Traffic Control for the Local Emergency Management Agency (LEMA) which he held until retirement. During this time he was also made a Freeman of the City of London.

Following retirement Brian took the opportunity to approach the volunteer service. He was sent to help at Fairlynch Museum where he joined the Local History Group, performing research for people who approached the Museum for help with genealogy questions. Henriette Feltham, a member of the Local History Group for seven years, remembered his very good eye for detail. “His computer skills were of great use in the laborious task of filing into an easily accessible system the ‘stock’ of items of local historical interest in Fairlynch's possession.”

Fascinated by history, Brian set out to research the origins of one particular photograph unearthed by the Museum. The little open fishing boat in the picture eventually proved to be the vessel used by the Savident family to make their daring escape from the Channel Islands prior to the German occupation of 1940 during World War Two. Asked to make a formal presentation of his discoveries to the family he was surprised to discover the family member stepping forward to receive it was none other than John Savident – the future actor, best known as the cheerful butcher Fred Elliott in Coronation Street - had been born on Guernsey in 1938. 

Brian’s other major ‘hobby’ was the Freemasons where he held both London Grand Rank and was the Provincial Grand Supreme Ruler, Order of the Secret Monitor (Province of Devonshire).

 
Brian Pepperrell, pictured left, at a Freemasons’ event in the Mount Edgcumbe Masonic Hall, Plymouth September 2012. 
Photo courtesy of The Ancient and Masonic Order of the Scarlet Cord

“He was certainly a committed and able Freemason,” noted Lt Cdr Angus Hannagan, Deputy Grand Secretary. “It was indeed a big part of his life and he will be missed by the many Orders of Freemasonry in which he made a significant contribution.” His funeral at Whimple was attended by over 40 senior figures from various Masonic Orders, with both London and the Channel Islands represented.

Brian’s commitment to Fairlynch was steadfast in spite of the ongoing illness which he endured. “He was researching for our 2014 World War One exhibition right up until the end,” recalled his colleague and fellow-Trustee Margaret Brett.  “His steady manner, as the deadline for Easter openings fast approached, will be much missed, as will his ability to ferret out that extra piece of information. He turned his hand willingly to all aspects of the work including display, computing, repackaging artefacts and, of course, his main interest, research.” 

 

 


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