Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Fourth Generation Broadsman Retires after 60 Years Working on the Norfolk Broads

John Burton on board The Primrose
John Burton (74), one of the boat drivers at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden at South Walsham, retired on Tuesday 15 July after eight years at Fairhaven, and 60 years involved in the Broads boating industry, as a boat builder and boat skipper.

He is a fourth generation Broadsman. His great grandfather Tom Burton (d 1895) was a wherry skipper. His grandfather Harris Burton, also a wherryman, was a private skipper working for Dr Day, whose boat was called The Dragonfly. John’s father, Ted Burton, worked for C & G Press and skippered Grey Dawn, a 10 berth motor cruiser.

John Burton completed a boat building apprenticeship with Herbert Woods, worked for Easticks of Acle, returned to Herbert Woods and then went into business with his father, running a hire boat business at Wroxham for four years in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

John’s next move was to return to boat building with Landamores (1972-84), then he worked with Colin Facey at Horning, before going to Norfolk Broads Yachting Company where he skippered the Wherry Yacht White Moth. The White Moth is now owned by the Wherry Yacht Charter Trust.  John managed the yard at Norfolk Broads Yachting Company before returning to Colin Facey again, and after five years, his first retirement.

John Burton said: “Not long after retiring, I visited Fairhaven with my grandchildren who asked to go on a boat trip. We enjoyed the trip and I half jokingly said, ‘did they want any more drivers’. The answer ‘yes’ came back from Louise, the manager, and I started driving the Primrose. I have really enjoyed working at the garden and meeting all the visitors, but the time has come to fully retire. I have renovated my own boat and look forward to having more time to sail it on the Broads.”

Louise Rout, Manager, Fairhaven Garden added: “We are going to miss John and his great knowledge of boats and the Broads. But the good news is that we are going to keep hold of him for occasional car park marshalling duties at our special events! We wish John well and many happy hours sailing his boat on the Broads.”

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is at South Walsham, nine miles east of Norwich, signposted off A47 at B1140 junction, t. 01603 270449.

The garden is open daily all year 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day and closes 4pm during the winter), also open Wednesdays until 9pm from May to the end of August. Entry is £6.10 adult, £5.60 concessions and £3.60 child (under 5 free). Free entry to tearoom, gift shop and plant sales.

There is wheelchair access throughout the garden, including a Sensory Garden and boat trips (additional charge). Visitors requiring special facilities are advised to telephone in advance, mobility scooters available.