Bob Ratcliffe, (our senior trainer, moderator and admin) shares a few words in memory Paul Wood who died suddenly on Wednesday 2nd October aged 56.
Paul was a man who had many strings to his bow and had crammed more into his lifetime than most of could do in several lifetimes. Originally from Cheadle he moved to Wolverhampton in his early 30’s where his love for narrowboats and the canals was born. He volunteered and started work on a local project called CARP who dealt with mainly people who were on probation. Penny (now one of my trainers at Wharf) trained Paul and he gained his boat masters licence. His new-found skill led him to The Wharf narrowboat; a 42 seat trip boat and he became part of pool of skippers.
He had a natural gift for working with children and adults that displayed challenging behaviour and he soon started working on The Wharfs alternative education program becoming an NCBA CCBM holder and later gained the Trainers Certificate. His love of the canals also saw him volunteering for The Truman Enterprise project to assist in weekends and residential breaks.
After a short while he became one of their valued skippers and also acted as booking secretary for the last few years of his life. I have to add that he also remained very active with The Wharf as our skipper and trainer.
ZZ Top Roadie
Over and above his duties with Wharf and Truman Paul was a keen musician and was once a roadie for the Rock band ZZ Top, probably to gain knowledge and understanding of his chosen instrument the guitar. He held an HND in electronics and has helped hundreds of local people with various electrical and computer problems. He had a very inquisitive mind and needed to know and understand how things work, but more so how to overcome various problems. He taught himself to become a locksmith, a plumber (very useful at times) and also volunteered at a local cobblers so he could even learn that as well.
Remembered by children
It’s hard to describe his impact on people but I suppose I can sum the man up by saying that once a year he used to help me to run a residential week for children with disadvantages through various reasons. We stopped doing this week’s residential four years ago but I have been contacted by several of the children who did attend those holiday breaks in Wales requesting to come to the funeral so that they could pay their respects to what they have described as “A TOP MAN”.
Pauls request is that he is to be cremated and his ashes are to be spread upon the Staffs & Worcester Canal. The Wharf and Truman Enterprise Trust will join together for the ceremony.(Unfortunately CARP no longer exists.)
Ironically the last photo we have of Paul was from the Tipton Festival on 22nd September of this year where it won the overall prize of best photo … It’s of Paul sailing away into the sunset!
A good man, great skipper, and even better friend.
Paul Wood 13th February 1957 to 2nd October 2013
The service will be held at Bushbury Crematorium 2.15pm on Monday 21st October 2013