A funeral service will be held next week following the death of former Navy man and P&O fleet manager Captain Graeme Wimsett.
Broadstairs resident Capt Wimsett passed away peacefully at home in his sleep on February 24 at the age of 81 He is survived by his wife Margaret and their children Mark, Rebecca and Scott.
The much-loved Broadstairs man was a founding member of the twinning association with Wattignes in France and headed up the building of P&O’s ferries such as the Pride of Burgundy and Pride of Kent.
His association with the sea was a lifetime commitment and stemmed from a fascination of seeing the vessels on the horizon while he was a child playing on Broadstairs beach – resulting in him once having to be rescued by the RNLI when he was seven after deciding to venture out onto the waves!
The former Chatham House student went to sea aged 16 years and embarked on his travels around the world but always loved his childhood home and made his life in Broadstairs with Margaret, whom he married in 1964, and their children.
Son Scott said: “He was fascinated by the sea and travelled the whole world including Argentina, South America and Brazil. He used to take us travelling when we were youngsters.
“He was also obsessed with extraordinary food and would give us lots of exotic food to try.”
Capt Wimsett also spent eight years living in Germany undertaking shipbuilding, including the P&O ferries.
Scott said: “He was then invited to be fleet manager for P&O which was a big job as he was in charge of the whole fleet across the UK and Ireland. It became a massive part of his life.”
During his time on the P&O fleet Capt Wimsett also delivered a weather forecast on local radio, direct from the ship, and earned the nickname Captain Windswept. He retired from P&O at the age of 61.
Capt Wimsett had a passion for Broadstairs where he grew up and his parents Jack and Mabs had run an antiques business for more than 50 years.
Scott said: “He loved Broadstairs and was very sporty. He could be seen on his 10-mile cycle ride around the town every morning and he really loved the seafront.”
It was with Jack and Mabs that Capt Wimsett started the Wattignes twinning in the 1980s which began with a friendship between themselves and a French family and grew into a huge initiative with events throughout the year including dinner dances and sporting activities and visits where families on both sides of the Channel could improve their language skills.
The family were also known for throwing huge parties, especially every Boxing Day, with up to 150 people in their home enjoying their hospitality.
Another great love was music.
Scott said: “Daddy loved music of all genres. He was a big Elton John fan and also loved the Rolling Stones.”
The funeral of Capt Wimsett will be held at Holy Trinity Church Broadstairs, 11.30am on Tuesday, March 21.
All donations to Parkinson Research UK and RNLI Ramsgate.