Book Of Remembrances

George John Massey - Mexborough 41 Club

George John Massey – Mexborough 41 Club

George was born into a small Yorkshire farming community in 1936 and grew up there. He absorbed his surroundings and adapted well to them. He took to foraging at a very young age, a skill he developed to unprecedented levels throughout his life.

George became an apprentice electrician at British Rail after leaving school. His father instilled into him a strong work ethic and an element of entrepreneurship. George also became a moonlighting driver in the family taxi business which provided access to his “own” vehicle. As a seventeen-year-old in the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1954 this was beyond cool.

In 1958 he was conscripted into the Royal Engineers which provided George with the opportunity to build Bailey Bridges and blow things up. This was an exciting period which gave him a great sense of achievement. During this time George qualified for the National Service Medal and became a corporal of which he was very proud.

After his stint in the Army and back to British Rail, he met Margaret, who became his wife. They started a family, two sons and a daughter. George built his own house while still working as an electrician. Also, around this time he joined Mexborough Round Table and later became a member of Mexborough 41 Club.

George and his friend Cliff decided to buy and share a boat. This was the start of a series of adventures around the British Isles which he later told, especially to members of the 41 Club. Every time these stories were retold, they became more dangerous and dramatic.

George built two boats. One was named “Dolly Blue” and was built at the side of the canal in Mexborough. He must have done a good job because when he sold it much later the new owner sailed it to the Falklands where it may still be.

It was aboard “Dolly Blue” that George and Margaret sailed into retirement from British Rail, whence he took up a 23-year association with Puerto Benalmadena in Spain. Though supposedly retired he continued working in the yacht repair business, mainly on electrics.

Losing Margaret in 2005 was a huge blow for George. However, he continued to enjoy life and became highly knowledgeable as an ornithologist and enjoyed painting. Not surprisingly, most of his paintings featured boats and trains.

George and his companion, Maureen enjoyed a further fourteen years, mainly spent on his new boat in Spain.

Alas, it was to be a scourge of the industrial era that was to take its final toll on George. Though affected over sixty years ago, the dread of asbestos came to George with its dire consequences. Always the pragmatist, George did not want a long-term illness and so he left us, fed up of being sick, on 13th February 2020, aged 83 years.