Crossing the bar

"Crossing the bar” refers to the death of a Mariner. The phrase has its origin in the fact that most rivers and bays develop a sandbar across their entrances and “Crossing the bar” meant leaving the safety of the harbour for the unknown.This is the famous poem entitled "Crossing the bar" by Alfred (Lord) Tennyson.

 SUNSET and evening star And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep,Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell, And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness or farewell, When I embark;

For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place

    The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face

    When I have crost the bar.


John Wilcox
WNTS 213
May 9th 2006

2006 John (Tank) Wilcox 213 died suddenly on 9 May aged 75 years, John was born in a Hampshire workhouse, he  left his foster parents aged 13 and was admitted to Watts Sea School in 1945, He was a member of the first Sea Schools Committee, John leaves a widow, son and daughter, three grandchildren and three great grandchildren,


Ronald Beales
12th march 2010.

From the Winter 2010 edition of "Guild Messenger".

Ronald Beales died on 12th March, 2010 aged 82. Ron was admitted to Barnardo's when he was 11 years old and spent time at Northampton (1941), WNTS (1942-1944) and Kingston (1945-1946).

Jarvis Eric Toogood.
WNTS 1932-1936
10th June. 2010.


 It is with great sadness that I report the death of Eric Toogood, in his eighty eighth year, at his home town of Burgess Hill, West Sussex. He leaves a daughter and many good friends, one of whom has sent me the following tribute.

Life  and  times  of  Jarvis  Eric  Toogood. 

Eric was born in Croydon, in 1922, the third of 4 brothers.  He spent most of his childhood in a Dr.Barnardo’s  Home & left there at 10 years old to join Watts Naval School in Norfolk, which gave him a taste of the sea & a love of East Anglia. He  joined the Navy when he was 15...well ahead of his years in all departments, passing exams in electronics & underwater artillery, was quickly promoted from Able Seaman to Leading Seaman, and almost immediately to Petty Officer, all in one year, when he was about 20....quite unheard of at that time.   He learnt fast & had become very observant & self-sufficient.   He loved recalling his adventures during the war &  although his ships were bombed more than once, & at one time abandoned on Crete with only 6 rounds of ammunition left, he came home unscathed.  In fact he gave a very interesting  talk  about his wartime adventures to the Fellowship group in this Church not many years ago.  

When he left the Navy he worked for the Inland Revenue in Norfolk & later in Manchester & was very efficient at his work as he had a fine head for figures.    

He had married Madge ( whom many of you will remember here ) in   1946,  and their daughter Kay was born in 1950. Sadly Madge became ill with osteoarthritis around 1970 & spent many months in a total plaster cast in hospital in Matlock.  During this time Eric was transferred South with his job & it was left to him to find a new home.  This is when he came to Burgess Hill, & as he knew he would need to use the train often he found their bungalow in Oakhall Park.   Eric was a born optimist...always seeing things for the best & ‘knowing’ they would get better.  He felt sure Madge would soon improve when they had moved south & was always positive about her treatments which were many.  He was a devoted carer, in spite of his own severe physical problems, & would often devise gadgets & useful aids to make life easier for Madge. 

When he retired they found this church, liked the welcoming atmosphere & started to attend regularly.  Altho’ we all remember him as a relaxed, smiling, happy soul, Madge  always  said he was really extremely shy. He became a serving Elder here, & it became obvious he was very knowledgeable about financial affairs, so he became Covenant Secretary here. He was always keen to help anyone with their forms, tactfully reminding them when payments were due, in a quiet way.   

He also became Treasurer of the local Arthritis Care group & together with Madge, in her wheelchair, valiantly organised many annual street collections.

As Madge began to find life increasingly difficult about 1992 they found the Dorothy Kerrin Trust at Burrswood near Eridge where they attended very regularly for the laying on of hands & great Spiritual comfort. During Madge’s final few painful years Eric did everything for her, SO willingly & without fuss. Each time she was in hospital he would visit twice every day, &  make her favourite egg-custards & jellies to take in to her. She called him her POCKET HERCULES and indeed he was.  Sadly Madge died in April 1995.  Some years after Madge died, he met a very nice widowed lady called Mabs. Her home was in Witney, near Oxford, & they gradually spent more & more time together. They had lots of lovely holidays abroad, cruises etc & they got on famously.  Although Eric kept his bungalow in Burgess Hill, they moved to a lovely house in Bognor Regis in 2000, & were very happy. All the family hoped they would have many happy years together,& during that time quite by chance Eric was put in touch with  the family in Seattle ( USA ) who had taken him in during the war when his ship was in dry-dock there. They had been trying to locate him for some years & this re-union, including 2 visits  over there made such a difference to him, & it was like finding another long-lost family, especially when he started using a computer, & could keep in touch with e-mails, as with his oldest brother Harold in Australia. 

Very sadly in 2002 Mabs had a sudden fright, & had a thrombosis in one eye, depriving her of sight & a  few weeks later she had a heart attack & died just before Christmas. Very fortunately Eric’s bungalow  in Burgess Hill  had not been sold , so he moved back into familiar surroundings, with his faithful, dear friend Pat  ‘keeping house’ for him. Mab’s family were very supportive &  kept in touch regularly, as did local church friends & the new family in America.  

In Spring 2003 he had a very severe bout of sciatica & later on arthritis set into both shoulders. He was in a lot of pain, but as usual never complained. He probably thought   his friends would try to persuade him to move into a care home, but as he’d started life in a ‘home’ he had no intention of ending it in one. He loved his food & cooked a fresh meal every day. He struggled on valiantly, but at the end of 2008 after endless falls & emergency calls he agreed to register with a caring agency who have provided 24/7 live-in care for him until his last day.  And very wonderful they have all been....keeping him comfortable in his own home just as he wished.  It’s been a long,  long  struggle over the years, but he never complained, he was always a perfect gentleman in every way, & always loved the ladies & enjoyed their visits & attention.   Latterly his worst affliction was the Parkinsons disease as it affected  his balance & latterly he found it difficult to swallow even water,  so inevitably he rapidly lost so much weight that continuing wasn’t viable.  Thankfully his carer for the last few weeks was Beverly who looked after him SO well, seeking all the medical help available, & keeping him very comfortable as he gradually slipped peacefully away.

Contributed by Wendy Martin, a friend of thirty years.