SEAMS News Archives

Colin Boyer – A tribute to a Country Gentleman

Colin lost his 2½ year battle against his medical problems on Wednesday 4th August with his wife Joan by his side, he also leaves his two sons Peter and Julian and his two grandsons behind.

I have known Colin for the best part of 40 years in which time he was always a loyal, honest and trusted friend. Born in Tandridge, Surrey in 1933 and later in 1946 moving to Highbrook (Ardingly) he loved the countryside life and had an inventive and mechanical themed mind, which lead him after a happy and boisterous childhood, to a 7-year apprenticeship at Walder & McCreadie Garage in Lindfield as a mechanic.

National Service in the RAF beckoned him, to which by all accounts he thoroughly enjoyed himself. Returning to civilian life he went back to work at the garage until the Suez crises when there was not enough work for him, he then went to work for the Seeboard, ending up as a charge-hand linesman.

An on-site accident in 1973 when someone turned on the power whilst he was still working on the line, resulted in him being blown off and crashing to the ground sustaining multiple fractures and hospitalisation for a couple of weeks, after only 13 weeks off (Joan says he was a silly man and did not allow himself enough time to recover properly) he returned to the same work.

Colin had a great desire for all things mechanical, owning various motorbikes, a Morgan, BSA three-wheeler, 1930’s Rover and a 1922/3 Austin 7, ex Pat Anscombe ex Ardingly taxi which was often seen at the Ardingly Show in the HH tent on display. In later years a 1933 Austin 10/4 Clifton, with a dickie seat and the other woman in his life “Hazel” a 1928 Ford Model A Phaeton, named after Joan’s sister.

Many will remember Colin for his collection of Stationary Engines, no tiddlers here though, all large engines rescued, repaired, restored and rallied by him whilst dressed in a blue boiler suit with a large leather belt to protect his injured back and always wearing a hat, Colin was a hat man whether running a stationary engine or driving one of his classic cars.

Always immaculately dressed be it a blazer or jacket and his flamboyant waistcoats always a talking point. I was proud and privileged to be given one of his prized waistcoats to wear to my daughter’s wedding in Bath, another stationary man Eric Taylors wife Birthe made the tiered wedding cake.

Colin was able to fix most things mechanical, but not always to `original factory spec’ and often said to me whilst I was struggling with some engine problem `Just get the bloody thing going first’!

Through the Austin 7 Club they had a yearly Rubber Band Challenge, this was to design and make a model vehicle propelled by a standard GPO red rubber band, this event was held at the Fountain Inn at Ashurst in the skittle alley barn.

Colins cars won on numerous occasions, his proudest achievement was a ford Model T with a polystyrene Laurel and Hardy driving. A staunch clubman being a member of Horsham Historics, SEAMS, SCHVPT, SK&WEG and Austin 7 clubs.

Quietly spoken yet with firm principles he was liked and respected by all he came in contact with. He will be sadly missed, a good man and a true Country Gentleman.

Keith West