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Fond tributes paid to Barrow shipyard’s ‘true gent’

A BARROW Island church is set to be packed on Monday to bid farewell to a well-known former shipyard boss.

HIGHLY RESPECTED: Norman Tyson, a former shipyard boss who died in Tenerife

Norman Tyson died suddenly last month while on holiday with his wife, Brenda, in Tenerife.

His son, Colin Tyson, said: “They’d been going to the same place in Tenerife twice a year for the last 27 years, they loved it there.”

Mr Tyson, of Heather Bank, Barrow, was a well-respected manager at the shipyard, where he spent most of his working life.

Former colleague Neil Tyson spent a number of years working closely with Mr Tyson.

“My first encounter with Norman was back in 1992/3 when he was working as manager of the Upholder submarine build,” Neil said.

“His payline mistakenly got delivered to my desk – his initials are NA Tyson and mine are NW Tyson, and I tore into it, as I did in those days when I was paid by the hour.

“I thought it was my birthday or something... I was very apologetic when I finally met him for the first time to explain.

“He always used to joke about it, referring to me as a young scallywag.”

Neil, who is now project manager of boat six of the Astute-class programme at BAE Systems, was assistant project
manager when the Barrow shipyard fitted out HMS Ocean, a landing platform helicopter vessel.

He said: “Norman was one of those true gents, he always had a suit and tie on – even on sea trials when even the
top managers wore jeans, Norman always had his suit and tie on.

“He was very well-respected, and liked, he stood out from all the rest and he knew shipbuilding inside out.”

Dennis Whittaker, another colleague who fondly remembers working with Mr Tyson, said he was proud to have known him.

“When I was project manager, he was my leading production manager,” Mr Whittaker said.

“I got to know him after 1998, when I was leading the team that was finishing off HMS Ocean down south.

“We would finish work at 7pm, go back to the hotel together and then go out for a meal and a few drinks together. I used to joke that I saw him more than his wife!”

Mr Whittaker, who retired in 2000 after almost 30 years at the shipyard, added: “Norman was an incredibly knowledgeable shipbuilder, he was a true professional, a real gent.

“I would put the success of turning things around on HMS Ocean down to Norman and his team. I was very proud to have worked with him and known him.”

Mr Tyson’s father, Thomas, was a former Barrow Island councillor and mayor of Barrow, and the family are well-known on the island.

Son Colin added: “Dad was a fantastic role model, really hard-working.”

Mr Tyson, 74, leaves his wife, Brenda, his children, Colin and Karen, and his stepchildren, Stephen, Sean and Joanne.

A service for Mr Tyson will be held at St John’s Church in Barrow Island at 1pm on Monday.

Have your say

Knew Norman from Southend Caravan Site so sad to hear the news lovely gent - regards to Brenda - family and friends

Our thoughts will be with you all

Posted by Christine Ramsdale on 13 December 2012 at 10:11

so sad to hear this news lived near Norman and Brenda for a couple of years, he was always a lovely polite gent thoughts are with Brenda and the family x

Posted by angela on 12 December 2012 at 17:53

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