AUTHOR of over a hundred books and designer of hundreds of boats, the remarkable South Warwickshire centenarian, Percy Blandford, has passed away in his granddaughter’s arms aged 101.
Known all over the world for his innovative naval architecture, the great-great-grandfather lived in Newbold-on-Stour for more than 60 years.
Percy spent 101 years on earth, and ninety-three of those were in the Scout Movement. At 1pm today (Thursday 6th February), the scouts are holding a large funeral for him in Newbold.
Gifted with both the ability to build anything with his hands, and then the nous to write about it, Percy penned the handbook for the Lancaster Bomber during the Second World War, as well as countless books on woodworking, metalworking, and knot tying.
On Friday 10th January he died peacefully in the arms of his 49-year-old granddaughter, Carole Blandford.
“A piece of me died that day with him,” she said. “What can you say, he was just the most amazing gramps ever, and he was my best friend. He was just everything to me, his patience, his kindness, there are no words.”
A man with a large extended family, he had eight great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandsons.
A member of the Royal Air Force during the war, Percy was responsible for writing handbooks for the planes.
After the war, he turned his mind to boats and canoes, designing hundreds from his workshop in Newbold. His work earned him global recognition, and there is even a Percy Blandford Appreciation Society on Facebook.
A timekeeper at the 1948 London Olympics, he was stationed at Henley-on-Thames keeping an eye on the rowing and canoeing. In 2012 he watched the Olympic Torch go past his house.
Today, scouts in Warwickshire will mourn his passing. Joining the Scouts at eight-years-old, Percy became a King Scout at 17 - the highest award a scout can achieve.
He met his late wife Ivy while she was working at the local Scout Shop, which was run by her parents.
He was also President of the International Guild of Knot Tyers for several years.
All of these work commitments and the many books, of so many different subjects, have all been very useful in the training of 100’s of youngsters in water activities.
The books on Knotting proving extremely helpful in the training of Sea Scouts and indeed the young Leaders, many of whom were completely new to the movement
With Ivy he had freelanced demonstrating, talking and writing about woodwork and metalwork, designing boats and testing all sorts of equipment. Their private lives had been very active, having travelled all over the world and been all around the coast of Britain looking for, and writing about, the possibilities of places for boats to be able to launch.
Percy wrote for the Scouting Magazine for many years under several pseudonyms, including the well-known P.L.Will Atkins.
When he and Ivy moved to South Warwickshire, he set up the 1st Newbold Sea Scout group.
In 2011 Scout headquarters had a one-off 80-year certificate made for him and the following year around 100 people visited Percy to congratulate him on achieving his 100th Birthday and received the much respected message and card from the Queen.
Geoff Russell, Chairman of the County Scout Fellowship, said: "Percy, we will miss you."
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