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Tributes to Faversham nautical festival founder Lena Reekie who died of cancer

A veteran figure in the county's nautical scene has died after a battle with cancer.

Lena Reekie, who lived in Faversham, was the founder of the town's nautical festival and a the Kentish Sails Association's longest-serving member.

She died at the age of 80 after being diagnosed with the disease last summer.

Lena onboard her much loved little ship Linnea last summer
Lena onboard her much loved little ship Linnea last summer

Lena spent more than four decades at the helm of the KSA as match secretary, helping to organise the annual Swale Smack and Sailing Barge race and Faversham Nautical Festival.

Julian Mannering, chairman of the KSA, says Lena will be "sorely missed".

He added: “Lena was a quite remarkable person, an intrepid sailor, a loyal friend to so many in Faversham and further afield and around the coast, significantly for members of the KSA, our match secretary for more than 40 years in which capacity she was always at the very centre of the annual Swale Smack & Sailing Barge Match.

“We will miss her sorely, but it is good that we can remember her only last August, still her usual cheerful self, handing out the prices after the race.

“Our thoughts are with Bob and all her family.”

Lena was the proud owner of her beloved boat Linnea, named after the Swedish national flower, and would often set sail in the Creek.

Lena Reekie, working on her boat Linnaea (the Swedish national flower) in 2007
Lena Reekie, working on her boat Linnaea (the Swedish national flower) in 2007

She was born in Sweden, before moving to Denmark where she met fellow boat enthusiast Alan Reekie, owner of Iron Wharf Boatyard, in 1966.

They moved to England shortly after and bought an old Thames barge which needed to be completely rebuilt.

The pair then spent a year in Medway before settling in Faversham in the early 1970s.

Together they had two children – Ian and Jo – before separating.

Lena lived with partner Bob Berk by the Creek and the couple moored boats outside their home.

Speaking to Faversham News in 2012, Lena told of her love of the Creek, saying: “I think we have the best house in Faversham – it is right on the Creek.

“I am so happy here. “I am surrounded by everything that interests me.”

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