Sunday, April 6, 2014
TOUCHING tributes have come in for Gwen Turl, who ran Exmouth’s RNLI shop at the old lifeboat station for many years.
Gwen died on March 10, aged 86. Her funeral was held at Exmouth’s Holy Trinity Church on March 25.
“We were her boys,” said Don Hodgkinson, the Exmouth RNLI boathouse manager. “‘How are me boys?’ she used to say. You knew that when she said ‘’Allo my ’ansome’ she was going to ask you to carry her parcels upstairs!”
“Gwen was here when I started in the early 1980s,” said Tim Mock, the station’s former coxswain and mechanic. “She was always supportive of the crew and always had a banter.”
“She always had a smile on her face and was helpful and enthusiastic with what we were doing,” added Mark Sanson, Exmouth RNLI crew volunteer and mechanic. “She was a jolly person to be around – a jolly old soul.”
Gwen was also much loved at Exmouth’s Madeira Bowling Club, where she was a former ladies’ captain.
“She was a well-established bowler when I joined the club in the late 1980s,” said Liz Healy, a former club captain and president.
“A jolly lady, she had a tremendous sense of humour and some wonderful sayings. When you didn’t do something right on the bowling green, she’d say ‘Slap legs for you, my girl!’
“And she couldn’t bear to see bowls bags on the seats outside when she wanted to sit down. She’d say, ‘Seats are for bums, not bags!’ She was a tremendous character.”
Born Gwendoline Mary Lamphee in 1927, Gwen was fostered to Frank and Naomi Came, who lived in Exeter. She trained as a nurse and served in the WRAF, where she met Geoffrey Morris.
They married in 1946 and had four children – Michael (who sadly died in 1993 of leukaemia), Naomi, Josephine and Laurence.
Gwen and Geoffrey later divorced and Gwen married Leslie Turl, a builder from Topsham. They had another child, Simon. Gwen and her family settled in St Andrew’s Road, Exmouth.
“When Simon became a member of the Exmouth lifeboat crew, Gwen helped out at the RNLI shop and eventually took over running it,” said her daughter Naomi.
“She was known for her blackboard outside the shop counting down to Christmas and berating people for not buying RNLI Christmas cards.”
Gwen had many and varied interests. As well as bowling, she also enjoyed cards and Scrabble, at which she was particularly skilful.
After Leslie’s death, Gwen moved to a flat in Albion Court, where she lived until her death. She leaves four children, nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.