Sailing to Purgatory
The final scene in this true adventure shocked the author, too.

‘The reader will be enthralled as Paul, former Fleet Street journalist turned professional yachtmaster, takes us along on his ‘swallowing the anchor’ voyage, his retirement from the sea.

'This self-confessed newish ancient mariner … has spent almost a lifetime sailing solo, as both an ocean going competitive yachtsman, as a DoT Commercial Yachtmaster, and during his circumnavigation to become a singlehanded Cape Horner ... Sailing to Purgatory has all the roller coaster elements of a heart stopping adventure — drama on the high seas, observing life ... undersea volcanoes, a love interest, and waves high enough to scare the pants off most of us.’ - Brenda Vowden, journalist, avid reader






Home from the outside ... St Helenans,
'Saints', round their South Atlantic
island in Midshipman,
en route for Stockholm.


















Enterprising forebears ... The house Paul's father designed, and the car his paternal grandfather designed and built.














Running repairs ... crewman Declan checks rig fittings on the superyacht, Midshipman, which Paul sailed from the Cape to Sweden.


















Sail power ... Gavin's Howe's beautiful yacht in the Mediterranean.



















Rescue in the Southern Ocean ... Yachting World's international edition this month features Paul and Captain Fantastic in its Great Seamanship series.


















Pat and Gerry Adamson, two wonderful supporters get Spirit of Pentax ready for her circumnavigation.















Home sweet home ... St Helena islanders, after a voyage round their island home on the superyacht, Midshipman.


















Baptism of a Cape Horner ... Lady Chichester names Spirit of Pentax in a ceremony at Brighton Marina.
















Homeward Bound 2 is prepared for her attempt on the longest open boat record.


















Tri trials ... testing Paul's entry in the singlehanded race across the Atlantic are great friends Ron Pell, Jerry Freeman plus a keen helper.


















Cover up ... Bob Abrahams works on cover ideas for Sailing to Purgatory.

















Stocking up for 18 months ... Last minute farewells before Spirit of Pentax and Paul left on the long route to become Cape Horners.
















Death of a racer ... Baltic Wind flounders after running into a container in the South Atlantic. Paul and a lady shipmate spent eight worrying days in a liferaft.

If you'd like to be remembered long after your death, forget our modern notions of ashes from the mortuary or a smart grave somewhere. At least, that's the impression I get from the memorial to a local lad who died on London's southern A3 boundary.

Joey Evans was just 22 driving a pick-up truck when he was caught in a pileup with two HGV lorries and a van.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Non-stop salute ... The traffic that killed Joey salutes him night and day.
A home-made memorial is mounted beside the A3, presumably near the scene of the fatal crash.

Each time I cycle to or from New Malden I see the memorial and wonder about its details.

Joey's portrait

Currently, a board covered in simulated grass hosts a plaque that shows Joey's portrait and brief details.

It tells passersby that Joey was killed back in December 2004. Presumably, the memorial has been there more or less ever since.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Not forgotten ... This extraordinary memorial for Joey is refreshed often with the flowers changed every few days.
The astounding point is that it is constantly refreshed, and at least each time I pass by bunches of flowers on it are fresh - or nearly so.

Who is this fellow, this stranger to most of us, who is remembered for so long afterwards, and comparing the time, very much longer than most road accidents victims seem to be mourned, at least in public?

A look online produced a report from the Surrey Comet, dated 31st December, 2004.

Joey, it reveals, gained fame as a boxing champ at school. He worked as a roofer, lived at Swallow Park travellers' site in Hook Rise North.

20 black limousines

The newspaper reported, 'A glass hearse, pulled by four white horses, led a procession of more than 20 black limousines and trucks, from Tolworth to the church where over 1,200 mourners gathered.

'Dozens of wreaths were dedicated to the devoted Arsenal fan.'

Joey has me paying respects every few months, but doubtlessly every day thousands of thoughts are aimed his way from cars and lorries. The daily number is likely to be in the tens of thousands, and all through each night as well.

The makeshift memorial is modest and is hardly likely to distract anyone's driving. But because the flowers are refreshed so regularly, it's the sort of unusual roadside sight that won't go unnoticed. And curiosity is bound to make regulars want to find out more.

It must be that the schoolboy boxer, then youthful roofer, has won thoughtful by the millions since his accident. I wouldn't be surprised if the memorial rates as one of the most saluted milestones on British roads.

Thanks very much for visiting the blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory.

Links:
Surrey Comet

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