The 1975 Royal Canal small boat rally from Thomastown Lock 18, along the Long Level to Fern’s Lock 17, near Kilcock, is my earliest memory of meeting Reggie, Sheila, and Nuala Redmond in their brand new, jet propelled rubber dinghy, – an ideal combination for the canal – no propeller, hence no problems with weeds. Soon after, our paths would cross again at IWAI meetings, functions, rallies, and just cruising on the Shannon, we became, and remained good friends to this day.In those days Dublin Branch held their annual dance in Trinity Boat club, and the Redmonds were always kind enough to offer accommodation to us and others from the country. The IWAI AGM was also held in the RIAC in Dublin, through Reggie’s good office, and the Redmonds always had a party in their house after the AGM, to which we all were again fed and bedded. They were equally generous on their boat Crannagh, where Sheila produced the most delicious meals, and they loved company and to entertain. Another abiding memory I have is of sailing into Blackbrink Bay on a cold Autumn evening, to get the smell of baking bread wafting downwind from the big red boat, – how could one refuse the invitation to “come aboard” for home-made soup & freshly baked brown bread, – mmm!
Reggie & Sheila spent a lot of their spare time on Crannagh, travelling all the waterways, especially the Shannon, anchoring out in the quiet backwaters, off the main navigation, where Reggie would make his own pilot charts of the area and the access to it, similar to what Harry Rice did in “Thanks for the Memory”. Reggie took great pride in these charts, and he also took great pleasure showing them to us and to newcomers to the area.
In between cruises, Reggie took a very active role in IWAI affairs. He was a member of IWAI Council for many years, and was Treasurer of the Association from 1993 to 2003, an unusually long period in any office, but he was held in such esteem for his thoroughness and integrity that people kept on electing him each year. His influence was pivotal in securing Charitable Status for the Association, and for updating the Associations accounting procedures to comply with Company law. He was also very active in Athlone Branch, and acted on various committees and as Honorary Auditor for many years. Crannagh won the Shannon Boat Rally Premier Award in 1977, and Reggie was Commodore in 1978, and served on the Rally Committee for many more years.
One of Reggie’s other interests was motor sport. He did rally driving and mud-plugging in his early years, before taking up boating. He continued his interest in motor sport, acting in various administrative roles on the racing circuit until recently, and he also took great pleasure in encouraging and supporting his grandchildren in the sport. He was a judge for the FIA, the governing body for many auto racing events, and up to recently he was actively engaged in their Court of Appeal in Paris. He was a member of the RIAC, and served on their committee for many years.
He served as Chairman, and on the board of St. Luke’s Hospital, and was involved in major developments at the hospital over many years. More recently he served on the committee of the Friends of St. Lukes Hospital. He was a volunteer on the Meals on Wheels team in the Rathgar parish. He liked to keep abreast of most sports, football, snooker, etc, which enabled him to engage in banter and debate with his grandchildren, especially about Man United, which he enjoyed.
He was a St. Mary’s boy – need I say more !
Reggie’s world turned upside down when his wife Sheila died in 1996. He was fortunate to have a very supporting family, and good friends, to help him through this dark period. He moved to a smaller, more manageable house, and changed to a smaller boat which was more suitable for single handed sailing. He continued to cruise & take part in rallies with his family up to October 2012 when he put the boat on the hard for the winter.
We were saddened to hear that Reggie was hospitalised in January, but we assumed and hoped that he would get better, so it came as a great shock when we heard of his death in April. Reggie was a loyal, much respected, and valued member of Athlone Branch, and IWAI Executive and Council for many years, and his contribution to the IWAI, and many other organisations will be sadly missed.
We extend our sincere sympathy to Reggie’s son Barry, his daughters Deirdre, Maeve, Fiona, and Nuala. We also extend our sympathy to Reggie’s brother Brian; Reggie’s nine grandchildren and his great grandson, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
May he rest in Peace