John Pender, Bryher
A BRYHER man known throughout the islands and beyond as a Scillonian character par excellence, has died aged 70 following a long battle with declining health.
John Pender was born in a chalet on South Hill, Bryher, on September 7, 1942, the eldest son of the late William "Willie" and Dorothy Pender.
The chalet was to gain later fame as the building at which the late Vernon and Audrey Hicks temporarily set up a pub which proved so successful as to lead to the island pub, the Victory Inn.
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Friends often wondered whether this background had in any way influenced John's lifelong liking for the juice of the grape.
The Pender family moved to Rosevean and then New Park, and apart from a short spell shore fishing in Falmouth John spent most of a hard early life around these two houses.
A dislike of farming was evident from his early days; boats, fishing pots and net-mending being more to his taste.
Many a winter's evening would be spent with one end of a net fastened to the kitchen ceiling beams with John working away at the other end; or down in his shed twisting withies and ending up with a lovely uniform lobster pot.
Gruff and bearded, John was universally known as "Johnny Pots" due to his lifetime's fishing and his seaman's hat.
He was as salty as the sea he loved and was never happier than when he was on his boat watching for marks to shoot or haul pots or setting one of his own nets.
An avid, lifelong reader, he amassed a large collection of books, mostly on nautical subjects.
He rowed for a time in the gig Czar in the Friday night inter-island races and he was one of the crew that pulled the Czar from Bryher to Penzance in 1967, when the resurgence of gigs was in its infancy.
His fight with poor health finally came to an end on July 6 and Bryher's church was full "to the gunwhales", as John would say, for a thanksgiving service of his life conducted by Canon Paul Miller.
Family members carried him on his last journey to rest on the "lee shore" by his late mother and father.
He leaves three brothers, Michael, William and Nigel.