Final journey for ferryman

A FERRYMAN is retiring from the family business which has taken thousands of people across the River Deben for more than 100 years.John White, who runs the Felixstowe Ferry, is retiring from the job he loves two weeks before his 65th birthday.

A FERRYMAN is retiring from the family business which has taken thousands of people across the River Deben for more than 100 years.

John White, who runs the Felixstowe Ferry, is retiring from the job he loves two weeks before his 65th birthday.

His departure ends a family connection with the ferry stretching back more than a century.

More than 100 years ago his wife's grandfather Charlie Brinkley ran the ferry. His son Charlie took over in the 1960s, followed by his son Robert.


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Now Mr White, who has run the ferry for five years, believes it is time to take life a bit easier.

The ferry was run under licence from the local boat yard and they will continue to run it from the beginning of next month.

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Mr White said: “You can get out there in the morning and there is not a breath of wind and it is just a magical place to be. What more could I have wanted?

“I shall miss many of the people - you get some lovely people on the ferry. There are long distance walkers, people walking around the British coast, long distant cyclists who use the ferry during the summer because we are on one of the main cycle routes and they are taking trips up to Newcastle and beyond.

“The Dutch and people from Belgium come across on the cross channel ferry and use us too. I like chatting to people and have enjoyed every moment of my time working here.

“Obviously there are days you would rather be ashore, but working on the river is a lovely thing to do.

“It is a lovely part of Suffolk, probably the prettiest on the whole of the east coast. It has been connected with the Brinkley family for so many years, my wife's side of the family, and this will be the end of an era.”

Mr White added: “Running the ferry is a lovely job, but it is a seven days a week job in the summer, when you want to be sailing really. Now that I am going to be pensionable, I'm going to do a bit more sailing.''

Mr White is married to Ann and it was her brother Robert who ran the ferry for a time, as well as her father Charlie and her grandfather before him.

Mr White has lived on the banks of the River Deben all his life. He worked at the boatyard until five years ago, and will not be retiring from the river he loves completely.

He will be running trips in his little boat on a part-time basis and will carry on as harbour master at the river.

The boat yard takes over running the ferry on April 1.

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