Shipping memorabilia handed to enthusiast

Daily Echo: Dave Thompson presents the collection to Clive Curtis Dave Thompson presents the collection to Clive Curtis

IT’S a collection of family treasures gathered together by two generations of dock workers.

But now Dave Thompson has given his memorabilia away to shipping enthusiast Clive Curtis, who appeared in the Daily Echo after building a port in his spare bedroom.

The great-grandfather-of-two started as an apprentice plater for Thornycrofts in Woolston, aged 15 in 1951, where he worked until he took redundancy at 50.

His father, Gus Thompson, and father-in-law Cyril Beesley were also shipbuilders and Dave is still in touch with his former colleagues who hold a reunion in Woolston once a year.

The 77-year-old, of Newtown, Southampton, wanted to ensure the memorabilia his family had collected went to a good home.

He has given Clive a black and white picture of Southampton docks dated 1955, two tickets from the SS Canberra dated October 1980 and May 1981, two menus from the Canberra – which show that in 1981 a passenger could buy a glass of wine for just 40p – and four books on shipping and Southampton docks.

Dave said: “They were up in my loft and I tried to find someone who was interested in it in my retirement but then I saw Clive’s story and I thought it would be much appreciated.

“When P&O printed books we got the chance to purchase them and we had the opportunity of saving what I had on the ships and when we went to the Falklands we had some papers so I saved them too.”

Clive, a porter at Southampton General Hospital, is thrilled with the new additions to his collection of shipping paintings, memorabilia and 36 model vessels which fill his home in Outer Circle, Coxford.

The 58-year-old grandfather-of-four said: “I think it’s really good. It’s something that I’m going to treasure for the rest of my life. Even Debbie (his wife) was interested in the tickets and that’s a first.

“Everyone who has given me bits and pieces has done me proud. I just can’t get over it. I can’t put into words just how special all of this is to me. I’m just overwhelmed. I never in my life would have thought anything like this would come from my story.”

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