Ken Bushell 12 Feb 2008
KENNETH WILLIAM BUSHELL – an obituary
Ken’s death on Wednesday 16th January was not altogether unexpected; ever the optimist, Ken had plans for the fitting out of Cormorant but his fragile health deteriorated suddenly over the new year & he slipped away in his sleep. That was typical; he never liked a fuss….
We gathered at Chelmsford Crematorium to celebrate his life on February 1st. It was one of those heart-warming experiences when a great variety of folk, all unknown to each other, met and the thread that pulled us together was Ken. Royal Corinthians, of course, knew of Ken as a yachtsman, but we heard of his life as a much loved brother, uncle and great-uncle, a ‘Captain of Industry’, a golfer and bridge player and a trustee of St. Clare’s Hospice in Harlow.
Ken’s membership of RCYC started in the middle fifties when he turned up with a Merlin Rocket but Gilly Reilly, who owned an ECOD No 4, Kuala, encouraged him to admire the classic lines of that class & Ken became the proud owner of No.7 Wizard. Later he moved to the Dragon Class and he and Smaug did the rounds of local and national regattas as well as abroad. His crew in those days consisted of Julie Catesby, Chris Brittain and the late Tony Glaze; he was instrumental in establishing the Dragon East Coast Regatta at Bradwell, which now rotates between the East Coast Dragon Fleets.
After a spell in Etchells, Ken was attracted to the re-born RCOD Fleet. He and Bobby Melville joined Alan Munro, a faithful RCOD owner of many years, and Ken’s last racing years were full of incident and great sailing. However, as Gavin Rouse remarked, Ken’s starts were sometimes affected by his habit of regaling his crew with stories of his past week between the five minute and the starting gun!
Ken was Commodore of RCYC from 1986 – 1988 and then Treasurer from 1988 – 1994. They were difficult years, at a time of financial doldrums and his wise approach did much to provide the firm foundation on which the Club now stands. His loyal support of the Club for so many years was marked when he was made an Honorary Flag Officer in 2005.
He loved a good party and was a prime performer in the years when RCYC presented in-house entertainment at the Christmas party and other events. Who will forget Ken as Humpty Dumpty, or the inebriated weatherman, or the prime athlete in running shorts and a coronet of laurel leaves, entering in slow motion to ‘Chariots of Fire’?
My first recollection of him was as Commodore, speaking at Club Dinners. His laid back style belied the polish and preparation of conversations between ‘Sandy Banks’ and ‘Windy Marks’; they appeared totally spontaneous and unrehearsed.
Many new members may never have met Ken and therefore have no idea how far his influence has shaped RCYC of 2008 but he is a true Corinthian who will be greatly missed by his many friends and sailing companions.
His best tribute is that he will always be remembered with a smile.