FROM way back in this country's maritime history, Trinity House has been responsible for the building, maintenance and the manning of lighthouses around our coast.
Back in my days as a coasting mariner, before the 'magic' of radar, on a dark night the welcome beam from a distant lighthouse was a great comfort.
I've lost count of the times we sailed past the Longships Lighthouse at Lands' End, before venturing into the Irish Sea, heading towards the Tuscar Rock light off Ireland's County Wexford… some 130 nautical miles to the northwest.
Without the comforting sight of land, on a wild night or in dense fog that stretch of sea could be a nightmare.
As coastal navigational changed and radar became the norm, the mariner's dependence on lighthouses became almost obsolete.
Trinity House acknowledged this fact by slowly introducing un-manned automatic lighthouses.
Today, in this digital age, with the aid of computerised navigation systems, Trinity House is now proposing to shut down several fog signals on its lighthouses, especially in populated spots like Pendeen Point and the Scilly Islands.
My guess is today's coastal mariners, yachtsmen and fishermen don't rely on fog signals for navigation and people living close to fog-signals which shatter their slumbers will cheer at their demise.
IT WOULD seem at last various sections of the community have accepted there are far too many different groups trying to influence Torbay Council's regeneration plans.
In Brixham for a few years there's been an abundance of different associations, such as Brixham21, Berag, Brats, the Chamber of Commerce, Community Partnership and several other 'well-meaning' groups whose main purpose has been to guide the town towards a brighter future.
The downside is Torbay's authority has become confused as to which 'voice' represents the true wishes of the Brixham people.
The problem should have been solved when the town council was formed when councillors were elected by the people to be the 'voice' those holding power should listen to.
Thankfully, all is not lost. Brixham21 has realised the way forward is for different groups to get together and present a programme of ideas and dreams as a united unit.
David Giles, vice-chairman of Brixham's Community Partnership, has suggested a public forum in October to debate and hopefully agree on the most important objectives for the town's future. Roll on October.
STAN Gregory, a man I considered a dear friend, passed away recently and headed towards the tranquillity of the 'outer anchorage'. Rest easy, Stan.
Our friendship went back to Furzeham school.
Because boys will be boys, on the way up the hill, several class-mates would make fun about my mop of curly hair. (Ah! They're not laughing now!)
Stan began joining me on my morning journey up the hill and because he was considered a senior, the other lads soon found other mischief to make.
To compensate for Stan's 'protection', I'd purchase a penny doughnut from the bakers' shop and walking up to school we'd take it in turns having a bite,
Although two classes ahead of me, we became good chums and during that term he taught me so much about life.
When Stan left school to learn his trade at Uphams Shipyard and I'd somehow managed to progress to Torquay's Homelands Secondary School, we sort of drifted apart.
It was over sixty-five years before the friendship was resumed.
Stan was an established, valued member of the Brixham Orpheus Male Voice Choir when they asked me to compere some of their local concerts.
Remembering the 'free' doughnuts from our schooldays, I'd sometimes take the micky out of the little fella during my introduction to various audiences.
Sometimes I worried about over-doing the 'Stan jokes', but he never stopped grinning and I'm sure he quietly enjoyed it. It certainly re-cemented our friendship.
Sadly, because of a series of different medical problems Stan had to give up the choir and believe me he's truly missed. There's a certain comradeship among the 'lads' which somehow unites these mature men well beyond their music.
Consequently, last Friday, at Fore Street's Methodist Church, Brixham said 'farewell and safe journey' to one of its truly treasured natives.
Sleep easy, dear friend, and remember: 'you never walked alone.'