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News > Alumni News > Denis John Lewis Vian (42-44F)

Denis John Lewis Vian (42-44F)

We were greatly saddened by Denis' passing on July 2nd this year. Denis held his time at West Buckland very dear throughout his life and his son Malcolm pays tribute to his father here.

Dad was born on the 27th, Jan 1927 to Lewis and Annie Althea Vian(Nee Thomas) at no 493 Chapel Terrace, Stenalees.  Dad was the second of the five children born to Lewis and Annie, his elder sister was Faustina followed by Thelma, Cordelia and Tessa.  The family lived at Trenance Terrace in the Gover Valley.  When dad was young he had what was described as a wheezy chest and the doctor recommended that he had to be moved to higher ground away from the damp air of the valley, he was sent to live with his grandparents at Canna Farm in the mist and rain of Stenalees.

In 1935 the growing family moved to 4 Kings Avenue on the death of his grandfather, John Vian.

He was educated at Mt Charles, St Austell Grammar and his beloved West Buckland school in Devon.  On finishing his schooling at West Buckland, Dad did his National Service when he joined the navy in 1945.  He served first aboard HMS Devonshire and then on HMS Eurylus.  It was during this time that when he was sent to The Isle of Man for training he first met Dorothy who, later, would become his wife.  On HMS Eurylus dad sailed the southern seas and visited Australia and other Asian countries.  The ship was being loaded with ammunition in Singapore when an ammunition box fell on his foot breaking 3 metatarsels.  Whilst in hospital a certain Admiral, Sir Phillip Vian, was inspecting the wards and he spent a good deal of time chatting with dad.  Dad was a bit like Uncle Albert in Only Fools and Horses, he sailed every sea and had a story to tell about every port he visited.  He certainly loved his time in the Navy and I am sure he  would have made a career out of it if he was not expected to become part of the family business

Dad left the navy in 1948 and joined the Metropolitan police on the 1st March, he was discharged on the 12th June 1949 with a good conduct record.  Whilst based in London dad spent his leave in the Isle of Man with Dorothy.  After leaving the force Dad went home to join his father in the family business.  Mum and dad were married on 28th Feb 1951 at Laxey Parish Church, Geoff Hawke was best man and his father Lewis was also present at the wedding.  The Dot and Den show had arrived!

Mum and dad started married life in a 2up 2down mid terraced cottage at Pondhu and I was born on May 14th 1952.  When I was about 7 we moved to 12 Beech Road. Whilst living in Beech Road dad became Treasurer of the British Legion and was secretary of the Services club on East Hill; this was a place where he and mum made very good friends and had an active social life, sadly very few of these good friends are still with us today but he would often reminisce about the fun time they had at various parties especially the fancy dress ones where somehow mother managed to get him dressed in women's clothing and he looked beautiful 

 When his father Lewis died, dad was left to run the family bookmaking business with assistance from mother.

They had 3 offices one in Camborne, one at North Street and one in St. Blazey.  Gradually they began to wind up the business and the Camborne and St. Austell offices closed and Mum and dad moved to Polgover Way, Par to be nearer the St. Blazey office.  On retirement and a short stint with the Post Office (mostly to keep out of Mother's hair) they moved to Sticker to be closer to their beloved grandsons Adam and Ben both of whom he was immensely proud.  They spent many happy hours going on holidays, coach tours and picnics.  Dad threw himself into village life and became a regular member of the congregation at St. Mark's, was secretary of the Sticker Village Association and joined the committee of Sticker Football Club.

Sadly his dearest Dot passed away on Jan 4th, 2000 after 50 years of marriage.  Dad had to fly solo now  and went on holiday to the Isle of Man and he went back to his old school at West Buckland with whom he kept in touch through the Old Boys network.  He longed to return to Australia and recapture the memories of his naval days but sadly this never happened.

One of his greatest joys was the monthly Sunday lunch that Val provided after Church, it gave him and his sister Faustina time to reminisce about the old days and it gave Kathy and I a day off.

Due to his failing mobility and eyesight and me having to run up and down to his place as he'd lost the T.V. remote or suddenly deciding he needed a book finding several times a day, Dad decided in January of this year just before his 96th birthday to come and live with us; he spent his time sorting out his stamp albums, listening to Classic FM in the morning at full volume drowning out anything else that was playing in the house, then he had his daily date with Judge Judy in the afternoons and after tea Salvage Hunters and Aussie Gold Diggers. When we commented that you've seen these before he would come back with the retort "Not all of it I fell asleep last time it was on".  Well that proves there is no accounting for taste!.

Despite his physical impairment dad enjoyed having his family around him and visitors popping in and out.  He watched his Great grandchildren grow up and share meals with him, especially Carter pinching his chips!  There were a few fraught times when he dared to tell Kathy her pasties were not up to scratch (brave man) but on the whole it made life easier for all of us for him to be living with us.

Dad's health started to deteriorate in the middle of June and he died on the 2nd of July with me by his side for which I shall be ever grateful that he didn't leave this world alone.

Now reunited with his friends and family that have gone before, I bet they are wondering what took him so long!

Denis, Dad, Papa you served your time now sail off into the sunset and rest in peace

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