The first meeting of the CRSC’s 2012-13 winter session was held at Jurys Inn on October 10 and began with a film tribute to the late Dr Joseph McKendrick (1949-2012), best known for his unstinting work for the Waverley and as a long-serving teacher at Jordanhill School.
Deryk Docherty introducing the photo tribute to Dr Joe McKendrick
Joe, who died on August 13 after a sudden illness, was for many years a director of Waverley Steam Navigation Company Limited and ran the Waverley shop. He also served as CRSC president in 1991-2. Among his other activities, he was a past president of the Scottish Branch of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society and a leading light in the formation of Blairmore Pier Trust. Roy Paterson’s moving film-obituary included images of the memorial ceremony on Blairmore Pier during the Waverley’s visit on the day of Joe’s funeral.
Deryk Docherty’s presidential address, which formed the main part of the evening, underscored the breadth and depth of Joe’s influence on the Clyde steamer scene. Deryk, who is the Waverley organisation’s company secretary, said it was at Joe’s request that he became involved at board level with the WSN and its operating arm, Waverley Excursions Limited.
Titled “Reprise in Sea”, an allusion to the way his musical studies and professional work as organist, singer and teacher had been intertwined with his love of the Clyde, Deryk’s talk offered insight into the complexities of running a steamer in the 21st century – his experience as a regular behind the counter of the paddler’s shop providing some humorous asides.
But he also evoked childhood memories of Wemyss Bay pier, of Burns Laird overnight sailings to Belfast, of his family’s move to Bute in 1959 and of how, as a schoolboy at Rothesay Academy, he could watch the comings and goings at the pier from the school playground.
The sort of view from Deryk’s family home these days
Loch Alainn heading for Ardmaleish
We learned of Deryk’s nifty footwork in the 1960s when, returning from his Saturday morning music lesson in Glasgow, he had to circumvent the poor afternoon ferry timetable, sometimes witnessing a football match on the car deck of the 1954 Bute. He told of cruising exploits on the Devonia and the Swiss paddlers, of his admiration for the interior design of the latest generation of Cunard liners, and of his disdain for the inadequate safety drills on River Danube cruise boats.
|QE2 on maiden call to Rotterdam|
Erasmus bridge in background
|Queen Victoria from Waverley, on the Clyde|
All this had a whiff of the traditional presidential address, in which the incumbent introduces himself along the lines of “Why I am a member of the Clyde River Steamer Club” – and very entertaining and illuminating it was. But Deryk, who served a previous term as president in 1981-2, also asked questions about the Club’s prospects, illustrating his argument with a fluent Powerpoint presentation. While acknowledging that nostalgia and camaraderie were part of the Club’s life, he said “we can’t just stand still – otherwise the Club will fall by the wayside. The world is moving fast, technology is moving forward.” He cited the development of www.crsc.org.uk and the way it had facilitated online payment of subscriptions, starting last year. This year cruises and other events can now also be booked online. He also welcomed the Club’s new e-letter.
One of Deryk’s “behind the scenes” photos
Waverley’s dining saloon set up for a wedding dinner
Reminding us of the upcoming 80th anniversary dinner on November 16, he said that, as the first CRSC president to hold a two-year term of office, he wanted members to “come and talk to me about the future of the Club, so that we can be sure of celebrating our centenary in 20 years’ time”.
The meeting, attended by about 100 members and friends, was chaired by Gordon Law, immediate past president. Iain Quinn gave the vote of thanks.