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Memories of Ron Harper 1931 - 2021

Anne & Ron HarperAfter leaving school Ron trained as an electrician and studied for his HNC in electrical engineering. He was a very keen cyclist, member of a local cycling club, and took part in time and endurance trials. He was always very competitive. He did his National Service in the RAF as a RADAR operator, based at Tern Hill, in Shropshire. When he had a 48 hour pass he would cycle home to Southport, and back ... a 120 mile round trip! After National Service he joined Manweb as an electrician, and worked his way up to Contracts Manager. As a manager he went in to the office a lot, and could be found chatting up a young clerk called Anne. We all know how that ended.

I met Ron at Ainsdale High Night School, where he taught me RYA Day Skipper and Coastal Skipper theory. He ran these courses for many years and must have taught a lot of local sailors. Over the years since we first met, we have sailed together for thousands of miles on various offshore trips. There have been some memorable hairy moments along with the glorious sights to be seen, for Ron to add to his list of tales to tell. At the time he and Anne ran a Chandlery business, Ron built various boats in the lounge of their home. The Mirror dinghy he built started son Tim’s sailing career - to become a world champion. He was very proud of both his children and grandchildren, and was sad that Anne never got to see Tim as Commodore at West Lancs. Ron was a past Commodore of Ribble Cruising Club, from where he sailed offshore with his Hunter Delta ‘Rupert Bear’. He was an active member of Probus.

Dave Pratt


Ron HarperFurther to Dave’s obituary I would like to add my memories of Ron. I met Ron in the late 60’s when we were both starting out dinghy sailing. I used to crew for him in his Merlin Rocket, winning silverware in the Menai Straits long distance race. We did our Yachtmaster courses at Loch Sunart with Euan Armstrong, and Ron later ended up teaching it at Ainsdale High Night School, as mentioned by Dave. We also played a lot of squash together. We were partners in a Westerly Centaur, which we kept off the pier, doing several round the Isle of Man races, before he bought the Delta. In 1984 he and Tim helped us to win silverware in the Scottish Series on Odyssey, the Sigma 33. In 1993 I managed to get him as crew onto a Westerly Oceanranger, when we did our first Atlantic crossing. I still remember the first night when we were on watch to the south of Gran Canaria, where the wind nearly always increases. That night the wind generator was howling and, looking at each other, we were wondering what we had let ourselves in for. We crossed the line 5th in our class. One place out of the prizes! The second Atlantic crossing was in Jenard of Mersey along with Dave, in 2013. He and Dave joined me when we picked up the brand new Andante of Mersey from Chichester, and went straight into the Portuguese Rally to Lagos. The following year Ron joined me on a trip to the Azores, when we had a force 8 gale the night before arriving. A year later saw us crossing the Atlantic again in the ARC to St. Lucia, in readiness for sailing in the World ARC. He and Dave came with me as far as Equador via the Panama Canal, about which Ron later gave many talks. The stories he told on many night watches kept our spirits up, and in his last few days he was phoning me nearly every day. He was an avid collector of sea miles, a truly great sailor and I miss him greatly.

Bob Willetts


A copy of this obit can be downloaded from here.


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