Tributes to campaigner Barrie Skelcher who spent his life immersed in Sizewell power industry
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
Tributes have been paid to a former senior safety official at the Sizewell nuclear site who has died at the age of 83 after developing motor neurone disease.
Barrie Skelcher was health physicist at the Sizewell A power station for many years before transferring to the B plant as information officer.
He leaves a wife, Shirley, three daughters and four grandchildren.
One of his daughters, Angela, said: “He was at home with his family which is what he wished for.”
Mr Skelcher’s autobiography – My Life with the Nuclear Industry – was recently published on-line.
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It traces his life from school in the suburbs of Birmingham to the Lake District, the north of Scotland and finally to Leiston where, apart from four years in the nearby village of Theberton, he had lived since 1963.
With a post-graduate degree in chemistry and physics and following intensive “security” screening, Mr Skelcher was offered a job with the UK Atomic Energy Authority in 1956.
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He was initially based at Windscale in Cumbria but then transferred to the Dounreay fast breeder reactor research site on the northern coast of Scotland where he was also able to indulge his love of the sea and sailing.
In the early 1960s he took up a senior role at Sizewell A where he led the team responsible for protecting workers from damaging levels of radiation.
In 1980 he became information officer for Sizewell B, retiring in 1987.
In recent years he had been helping in the campaign against Sizewell C, believing the plant would be vulnerable to coastal erosion and that it would put too much generating capacity in one location and thus become a bigger terrorist target.
The Sizewell Stakeholder Group, which liaises between the community and the nuclear site, said: “Barrie attended many of our meetings as a member of the public and took a keen interest in our work, generously sharing his knowledge and expertise gained from many years in the nuclear industry.”
Mr Skelcher served five terms as commodore of Slaughden Sailing Club, and was a racing coach for the Royal Yachting Association and a powerboat instructor.