It is with great sadness that I have to announce that Fred Shepherd died last weekend. Many of you would have heard his name mentioned, but not actually met him. He was Guildford’s most successful Marblehead sailor in the late 60s and early 70s and a great character. I have tried to catch that in this obituary and included photos of all the boats that he designed and built. Over the last 15 years he has concentrated on turning wood on his lathe as he could do this relatively easily after a cycle accident limited his hand skills. He turned out some lovely trophies, which are illustrated. His trophy plinths make the most meagre little bits of silverware, turn into really nice trophies.
I hope that you are all doing okay in this lockdown period and staying safe.
Fred Shepherd 1931-2020
After a short spell in hospital, Fred died on March 28 from natural causes aged 88. He was a quite remarkable man, a colourful character, a very skilful craftsman, a fiercely competitive sportsman and also a model yacht designer. He was determined to do his very best at everything he tried.
The attached obituary mentions his activities in model yachting from a national standpoint, but for the Guildford Model Yacht Club he was a key member when he joined in 1964, before I was a member. I was introduced to him when I was still at school and much of his work described here took place whilst I was still at university. You may think that the GMYC current membership is too low, but there was a 5 year period when there was very little or no activity with membership dropping off to just a handful.
However, the club did not fold up, but the remaining members were waiting in hope of something to generate some new enthusiasm. This arrived in 1964 when Ray Blick joined the club. He was an Olympic K2 canoe finalist in both sprint and 10000m in the 1956 Melbourne games. He toured the local clubs and bought any old tore out Marblehead for new members like Fred to refurbish. Being good at it Fred refurbished several! Ray was a master GRP moulder, having moulded many canoes and he made beautiful hull and deck shells for just £25.
Not only was Fred determined to learn the sailing side, but in 1968 he became the club secretary and helped to drive the club through difficult times including new Marblehead rules, which were being framed in 1970. The most significant of these was to remove the 1 inch radius garboard, which was supposed to prevent fin and bulb keels, but which clearly didn’t and this rule change was definitely a benefit to the class removing an unnecessary complication.
The minute book not only includes the Annual General Meetings, but also monthly meetings of the committee usually in one of the committee member’s houses initially, but later at the lakeside at Elstead Moat, so the secretary’s job was quite extensive with lots of handwritten minutes.
After that effort he resigned as the secretary and handed over to me, where I note in the minute book, the organisation of events was similar to our current setup liaising with other clubs for our events and even sailing several of our trophies at Hove Lagoon to boost the numbers sailing.
I will really miss Fred as we have had such a long history together.
Raymond Blick (born 27 May 1930) is a British sprint canoer who competed in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Competing in two Summer Olympics, he earned his best finish of eighth in the K-2 10000 m event at Melbourne in 1956.