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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Inspirational Askam rescue hero remembered

MEMBERS of the life-saving team he helped set up more than 40 years ago proudly carried the coffin of a much-loved community champion.

Family and friends filled St Peter’s Church, Ireleth, yesterday to remember Bernard McNamee, who died, aged 83, last Friday following a short illness.

The great-grandfather was Duddon Inshore Rescue’s first chairman when it founded in 1969 and was latterly its president.

Heartfelt words from family and inshore rescue colleagues were read out during the funeral.

A tribute from Duddon Inshore Rescue said members would “always be thankful” for Mr McNamee.

They said he was “so important to the whole life of DIR” – often “in the background” but “always driving people forward” as the “mastermind” of the group.

Born in Lancaster in 1929, Mr McNamee moved to Barrow in 1953 with wife Margaret, with whom he celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary in March.

After serving as manager at the old Home and Colonial store, he ran a mobile shop, visiting Furness villages including Askam, where he moved in 1967 and took over the shop in Sharp Street.

Mr McNamee, described as “tireless”, was an active member of Barrow Round Table, a founding member of Furness Lions, ran Askam Youth Club, and was on the committee for local cubs and scouts.

In 1979 he went into semi-retirement and took over the Vulcan pub in Askam, and was awarded the MBE for services to Cumbria in 2005.

Grandchildren Daniel and Jessica described a granddad for whom “no job was too big or too small, especially if the solution could be found in the shed”.

They said his work in the community was “inspirational” and he “shaped who we are today”.

Grandchildren Victoria and Laura said their granddad would “be forever in our hearts” and they would “share his memories with his great-grandchildren”.

Elaine, wife of Mr McNamee’s son Chris, said he had made her “feel like a daughter, not an in-law” ever since he welcomed her into his family 35 years ago.

She said: “Thank you for running about for me when I had the shop.

“You would drive me to Manchester for stock on your day off and taught me the rules of business, or your rule: if you haven’t got it, you can’t sell it.”

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