Saturday, 26 March 2011

Act of kindness...


At a time when it seems that UK inc is chucking money round the world like a man with no arms, and with little regard for it's own citizens, it might be a good idea to recall a singular act of kindness towards us, which occurred many years ago.

Lynmouth was ravaged by a huge flood on August 15th, 1952, and in straightened times, was international headline news of a huge tragedy to this delightful little town.

The events are well documented, and I well knew Charles Dobbie, the Consulting Engineer who was on holiday there at the time, and provided unique expertise to the council in bringing the place back to near-normal.

During the aftermath, and at the start of the reconstruction, there was a visit to the town by a certain Mr William Bustamente, who was then a Chief Minister in Jamaica. The Caribbean had experienced a devastating hurricane a year before, and Jamaica had taken the brunt of the storm.

Mr Bustamente arrived in person, and came down to Lynton to express his sorrow and regret, and wanted to reciprocate the largesse of a cash-strapped UK, by bringing with him a lorry load of bananas, sugar and coffee from his own country, which he happily distributed to everyone in the crowd - especially the children.

Now that was a nice thing to do.

9 comments:

Electro-Kevin said...

Lovely.

Scrobs... said...

It is isn't it Elecs!

I don't know why I suddenly remembered the bit from the book, perhaps it was because we'd been talking about how we'd never met anyone who didn't like bananas!

I do love Lynmouth though, you're not too far from there?

rvi said...

Yes, Scrobs, we old(ish) farts remember momentous events like those storms and the floods as if they were but last week. The whole Channel coastline seemed to be taking a bashing for some reason at that time. If my memory serves me correctly, 1952 was also the year of the loss of the Flying Enterprise as it tried to make landfall in SW England. That ill-fated boat was also a victim of the savage Atlantic storms of that year, but I still clearly remember watching the dramatic news coverage of the event as the ship listed more steeply as the hours went by and the desperate efforts of Kurt Carlson to keep it afloat.

As but a nipper at the time, I went on holiday to Whitstable for a few days and there was extensive flood damage along the coastal areas of the town; great fun for us kids to clamber over and explore some twisted wreckage (with no elf n safety berks shouting at us that we in horrendous danger of getting our beach shoes wet). At about the same time some relatives of mine got flooded out of Sheerness where their family had lived since time immemorial. Their house was so badly damaged, they simply abandoned it and moved to the Midlands - which thus put the kibosh on any further adventurous childhood holidays scrabbling about on the nearby Minster cliffs (when the local live firing range was not operating!).

Memories! Not for the faint-hearted. I think I need another banana.

Philipa said...

Good to remember such things, thanks for that, Scrobs :-)

Thud said...

My dad said that as a kid he had never tasted a banana. I'm not sure that he was telling the truth but he did come from a rather rough family in a rough part of a rough city....as an adult though he did eat them with a certain joy.

Scrobs... said...

Do you remember all that about the kent storms Reevers? I may be able to find some pics I have, and will try and copy them for you!

I was in Sheerness a couple of weeks ago, and it doesn't look at all bad these days, even though the steel co went pop and left a huge dent in the economy. Also fond memories of a big chum who owned a builders merchant there, and visiting several pubs in the days when that was the norm...

Whitsable is an incredibly expensive place these days, and also very pleasant!

Scrobs... said...

Just happens occasionally Pips, I either think of nice things when bananas appear on the horizon, or I did until one of the miliprats decided to be photographed with one...

Scrobs... said...

Probably true Thudders (although you'd lnow your own dad of course...)!

I remember my dentist telling me that they were evil when I was about eight!

killemallletgodsortemout said...

What! No drugs in dem coffee jars?