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Volunteer Voices4th April 2023

The Story of Ship Keeping Volunteer Barry Lewing

Today we wish Happy Birthday to Ship Keeping Volunteer Barry Lewing. Barry has volunteered with the team for approximately 8 years. He is a core part of the ongoing preservation of our Historic Warships that visitors step aboard every day – Barry particularly enjoys working on HMS CAVALIER. Barry and his family have a rich history at the Dockyard, his Father was an Electrical Engineer during the 1970s & 80s.

One of Barry’s biggest recent projects was being heavily involved in painting the accessible ramp on HMS CAVALIER at the end of last year.  Volunteer Coordinator Pip Blackmore said “Barry is a very dedicated volunteer and boosts the moral of everyone around him.”

Barry, pictured here at the most recent Volunteer Coffee Morning. This event allows different volunteer groups across the Dockyard to meet and share stories.

Here is Barry’s story as a volunteer and his family heritage at the Dockyard in his words:

“My Dad worked in the Dockyard, man and boy, and started as an apprentice. He passed away last June. My Dad worked on a lot of ships – TRIDENT, CHATHAM, BRISTOL. He was an Electric Engineer who also worked on submarines and in the Nuclear Complex on secret work. When he worked nights he hated that because he didn’t get home until 1 in the morning. He left the Dockyard to be a volunteer like me. I volunteer on the ships and my favourite jobs are cleaning up the workshop and moving stuff, like wood, paint, and cardboard around the Dockyard. I use handcarts and a trolley to help me with this. I love working in the Dockyard and sharing tea breaks with my colleagues. I have lots of happy memories of times in the Dockyard. I came to the Navy Days with my Dad and went on HMS CHATHAM. There were 19 of my relations working at the Dockyard. One of my Uncles was the Foreman of the Telephone Exchange, which is no longer there, another Uncle drove the diesel vehicles around the Yard, another worked in the underground bunkers and another delivered supplies to the submarines. My Grandad also worked in the Dockyard, but I don’t know what he did. When my Dad passed away, it burnt a hole in my heart so the family donated an oak bench to him and it is near the ships’ compound. Every Monday and Wednesday I clean the bench and sit while my Dad looks down on me.”

With thanks to volunteer Barry Lewing for sharing his story of volunteering and family at the Dockyard on his birthday.

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