Britt Hand

Founder Member Highcliffe Sailing Club

Britt HandIt is with great sadness we inform members that Britt Hand passed away on Sunday, 17th of May 2009 at the age of 92. Britt was a Founder Member of the Club and had held many different posts thoughout his membership.

Britt was born in Wolverhampton in 1917 and trained as an engineer. During World War 2, he served in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Regiment and spent most of his military service in Burma.

After war service he worked at Boulton Paul Aircraft in Wolverhampton and later joined De Havilland Aircraft Co. at Christchurch.

In 1953/54 the members of the D.H Sports & Recreational Club formed a sailing section which sailed in Christchurch Harbour. Britt started sailing with the new club soon after its formation and became involved in all of its activities including the purchase, siting and fitting out of a Motor Torpedo Boat on the foreshore to act as H.Q. Unfortunately, the De Havilland plant closed down and the sailing club had to sell its equipment, but as many members wished to keep sailing, a merger was arranged with the sailing section of the Highcliffe Community Association sailing section in 1962.

Britt was one of three representatives of the defunct D.H. sailing club liaising with the HCA sailors to form a new independent sailing club known as The Highcliffe Sailing CLub. Britt's first post with the new club was Boat House Captain and a year later he became Rear Commodore.

Up until 1964 all racing had been in Christchurch harbour but moves were afoot to commence racing at sea and Britt was on the sub committee to purchase the first rescue boat for the club to enable sea racing to begin.

In 1966 Britt was instrumental in setting up a junior fleet which went on to produce National and International Champions. In 1967 Britt was Rear Commodore and talks began on the building of a permanent clubhouse on the quay at Mudeford. After much hard work by Britt and other club members, the new clubhouse was formally opened in 1971. In the the following year Britt was elected Commodore and an important improvement ot the club by Britt was the opening of a Licensed Bar.

The Club had run many open meetings at which Britt had acted as Race Officer, and by 1979 Britt and Trevor Phillips had the experience to run any type of open meeting.

In 1976, Britt decided to have a rest having just completed his four year term as Commodore. However, the need for a Bosun arose and Britt stepped into the breech, then the Rear Commodore had to resign and Britt again saved the day by accepting the post as well as acting as Bosun. In 1980, Britt accepted the post of Secretary, a position he held for just over twenty years. He then became a Trustee of the Club.

Although Britt did a tremendous amount of work for the club, he did find time to sail with his wife Thelma, as crew. Thelma, who also worked in the galley and did many other housekeeping chores for the club was very supportive of Britt in all of his duties.

Over the years, Britt raced may classes of dinghy including GP14s, 505, Seaflies and in later years enjoyed racing a Mirror in the Harbour.

We, the Committee and Members of The Highcliffe Sailing Club, must be grateful to Britt for the unstinting service that he has given to the Club since its formation in 1962.

The Funeral Service will be held at the Bournemouth Crematorium at 11.00am on Wednesday 27th May, 2009.


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