Bill Raper

Post date: Dec 06, 2015 5:52:31 PM

Dear SCARA Member, 

We have recently received sad news from Bill Raper's son Christopher advising of his his fathers death on the 18th November.

The funeral is on Wednesday 9th December at 2:00 p.m. in the Greenacres Woodlands Burials in Watton Road, Colney, Norfolk. NR4 7TY.  After the service, there will be a committal at the Earlham Crematorium in Norwich, followed by a small reception back at the Greenacres Woodland Burials.

Christopher says "it would be very good to see any of Pa's old friends who would like and are able to come."

UPDATE 19/12/2015

We have been provided with the text of the eulogy read out at Bill Draper's funeral:

Uncle Bill was born in 1926 to Kathleen and George and was joined 5 years later by younger sister Shirley (my mum). He went to school in Bromborough and Rockferry High School, leaving after his Higher School Certificate in 1944. He joined the RAF for his national service working with radar. Mum can recall going to visit him at RAF Cosford and at Skegness for a weekend to see him ‘square bashing’. He was posted to India and mum remembers him coming home with a pineapple slung around his neck on a pyjama cord so no-one would pinch such a valuable item.

After obtaining his degree at the University of Liverpool he got a job working for Alfred Holt – a Liverpool Shipping firm, and went to Singapore with them in 1951. He worked in Singapore until 1965 working for Alfred Holt and Mansfield and Co. When on a day’s sailing with friends in 1952 Uncle Bill met Auntie June, they met again later in the year at an Indian festival and never looked back. They married in Jan 1956 (so would have been married for 60 years in Jan). Whilst living in Singapore UB started to build his first boat, which was launched over the side of one of the Blue Funnel ships 2 years later. 

Uncle Bill seems to have given a number of his early cars names – I have been told about Horace and then Hank the tank! Horace was a two tone green Mayflower. Apparently when UB was courting he never asked AJ out, the invite always came from Horace! Shirley and Christopher were born into this happy family and I can remember holidaying with AJ, UB, S & C in Dartmouth, Devon when they were back on leave from Singapore. UB had a massive car that we could all fit in (8 of us) with 3 rows of bench seats. He managed to drive it down the smallest of lanes and moaned at everyone else’s driving. 

The family returned to UK to live in 1965, initially in London area then moving to the Suffolk villages. UB helped to set up OCL who were pioneers in containerisation of shipping, and he was instrumental in helping to start the container shipping business with the far east.

UB continued his love of sailing when back in the UK and had a number of boats over the years. On his retirement he was determined to sail more, so the day after he retired he and AJ headed off in the boat. They spent the next 10 years sailing around the med , black sea, Red sea, Middle East, Canary isles and Bay of Biscay, where they make numerous friends in ports (many of whom they kept in touch with). 

Rob and I spent many happy holidays at AJ & UB’s houses – sometimes for free when they were away sailing and sometimes staying with them. I clearly recall UB and Rob going out to collect and empty the lifeboat collection boxes in local pubs in Suffolk, and HAVING to sample the beer in each pub on route.

UB kept busy, and was extremely proud of his children and grandchildren. He saw his first stroke in 2009 as an inconvenience, but it did slow him down a bit, with each episode slowing him more. But he tried to keep positive, in spite of family bereavements (Especially that of Shirley). Early this year he went on a cruise to Norway to see the Northern lights, went to a black tie dinner in Durham Castle, and attended the wedding of Paul (my brother) and Karen. 

His health seriously deteriorated in the last six months, with a rapid decline over the last few weeks of his life.

He will be greatly missed by all his family and friends, but please take a moment to remember Bill in happier times and smile at your memories of him.