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Home Gravesend News Article
The riverfront in Gravesend marked the perfect location for one of the town’s most well-known watermen to be remembered.
Family and friends of former Tilbury dock pilot and ‘river character’ Bob Sutherland gathered outside Bawley Bay at Anchor Cove in Royal Pier Road for a memorial service conducted by Canon Chris Stone.
Mr Sutherland, who lived in Royal Pier Road before retiring to Scotland, was 88 when he died from a long illness.
Born in Gravesend, Mr Sutherland’s family who undertook many aspects of river work, including shrimping, salvage and tug work.
Fittingly, the Svitzer tug Milgarth sailed up river in tribute to Mr Sutherland to mark the service, while the captain of the passing ship Norstream sounded his vessel’s horn in salute.
Father of two Mr Sutherland worked for the Naval Control Service during the Second World War, protecting Thames shipping, and was a river freeman.
His family also owned and worked the last working Bawley shrimp boat, Thistle, and many of his relatives still work on the Thames.
Speaking at the service, Canon Stone, from nearby St George’s Church, said: “Bob was one of a great river family in Gravesend. It is wonderful to see those family links continue with the river, and a privilege to be asked to say some words on occasions like this.”
Canon Stone also said a prayer of thanks for Mr Sutherland’s life, as well as “all he accomplished, the person that he was, and the memories of him that will linger long”.
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