In memory of Barbara Rouse, TBA Life Member

Information provided by her long standing friend, Val Stafford.

Barbara Rouse lived with her parents, apart from when she was training to be a teacher, and taught at several schools. By the time of her retirement she had risen to the role of deputy head teacher at Westdale lane Infant school and her favourite subject was natural history.

Barbara always had annual holidays with parents at Southwold, then when able to travel alone, went to the Isle of Sark each year to watch the arrival of the puffins. She made friends with a local boat owner and crewed aboard his converted fishing boat on many occasions and this influenced her decision to have a boat of her own.

She chose the type of boat she wanted and on the next visit to Southwold ordered one to be built to her own design at a local yard. The boat was delivered to Percy Taylor’s boatyard in the early 1960’s and christened ‘Puffin’.

 Barbara cruised mainly single handed but in the company with two other boats from the moorings, travelling mainly upstream through the Nottingham canal to the Upper Trent, River Soar and Trent and Mersey canals.

Puffin moved to the Meadow Lane Lock moorings after a few years and here Barbara met Dr Stephens who owned a sailing yacht Seventh Heaven, she cruised the lower Trent to Torksey, on through the canal to Lincoln and down the Witham to Boston. One year Barabara and Puffin penned through Anton’s Gowt lock and explored the local drains alone.

After the death of the old lock-keeper George Lloydell, Puffin and Seventh Heaven moved to Park Yacht Club moorings.

Barbara crewed aboard Seventh Heaven for several summers and crossed to Holland and Belgium, eventually making the crossing from Boston to the Kiel canal and into the Baltic. When Dr Stephens sold the sailing boat and bought a twin screw fibre glass boat named Benedicta Barbara continued to sign up for the sea cruises also making two crossings with Bonny Lass, owned by Bill and Val Stafford, to Amsterdam and the Zuider Zee.

Barbara also crewed on the first St John Ambulance community trip boat at Nottingham.

Barbara completed a lifetime ambition by visiting the whole length of the river Trent from source to Trent Falls, either on foot, by road, but mostly by water. She used many of the photographs she took to illustrate the after dinner speeches which she gave. 

A selection of Barbara’s photographs can be viewed in the Historic River Trent photo album by clicking here.


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