Memorial Bench (for Mermaids) placed at the Royal West

The next time you are down to the Club you will notice a new bench located along the south wall of the Boat House.  This bench has been donated by Marion Taylor (Mills) & Ian Mills in memory of their Father, Mother, Sister and Brother.  Below is words that Marion read out when the Bench was presented to the Club.

It has taken us a considerable time to actually do something to commemorate our family members, who are no longer with us.

I know Mum never did anything with dad’s ashes and we never did anything with Mum’s.  I do remember Mum being charged excess baggage in the USA to fly Helen’s ashes home, But Mum being Mum eventually managed to see humour in that and the fact we slept with Helen under the bed in Inverness prior to scattering her ashes up at Cove. Then we forgot the check the wind direction and Mum fell down a rabbit hole. It is strange the memories that remain very clear in my head.

As a family, guided by Mum, we always prioritise for the living and get on with any crisis that is thrown at us. And Mum faced many a crisis with the 4 0f us. On the way back down from Cove we had to stop at Poolewe as the boys wanted to watch the rugby. Poor mum just accepted that. We went into Inverewe Gardens.

Scattering Georges ashes did not go to plan either, I had a vision in my head and had flower heads that were to be floated down the Clyde with his ashes as I tipped them into the water, they landed with a huge dollop just where I poured them. Not what I expected.

So basically, what I am saying is that a memorial bench is a much safer option than scattering ashes. Abi loves me reading out the quotes on benches and when she was about 3 we were down at the pencil in Largs and she found a plaque on a picnic table (the makers plaque) and asked me if it was a “Mermaid table” “read what it says” “read what it says”. I was confused. I then realised she did not think all these benches were Memorial seats they were Mermaid seats.  So, this is our Mermaid seat and we are presenting it to The Boat Club in memory of our dad, mum, sister and brother who are all sadly missed.

As the seat says Dad died at 49 years old, he truly was the calm and he installed in us a love of the sea with his boats and fishing. George and I sailed with him in his dayboat called “Magpie”. Dad and I won a 3rd prize trophy at Royal Gourock in 1968, I was 11 years old. Within 3 weeks of Dad dying, mum towed our little rowing boat up to Cove and George and I spent the 2 weeks fishing no lifejackets and I still can’t row. George kept me safe, we were 14 and 16 years old.

When Helen died, she was only 39 years old and had 4 daughters, Kirsty aged 11, Andrea 9, Stephanie 7 and Emma 2. Mum flew out and got to be at Helen’s bedside, Helen saw Mum and said “Mum, you’re here” and she died later the next day. George was on one of his infamous sailing adventures and had been missing at sea for a fortnight. So poor mum thought he was lost too.

Helen was the storm, as a youngster she was feisty she blew up at the slightest provocation. After a bad haircut she lay on her bed and screamed kicking her legs, she must have been about 15.
As I have alluded to already mum was a strong influence in our lives, she was our anchor and held us altogether, she was our place of safety, no matter what any of us did, she forgave us and accepted us for who we were. She always said she would go when she saw all of us settled and she died just 3 weeks before Andrew and I married, I think knowing I was in safe hands.

George was just George he could be so kind and considerate then so inconsiderate and selfish, he loved life and lived his life to the full, and he died doing what he loved best … sailing.
So really for us it is very appropriate that the bench is here by the sea mum can watch from the shore, as she never really like the sea. but I’m sure Dad, Helen and George will be surfing the waves and frolicking in the wind.

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal.
Love leaves a memory no one can steal”

On behalf of our family I hope this bench provides the Boat club with lots of happy memories, laughter and maybe even a glimpse of a mermaid or 2.

The inscription on the Bench reads:

This seat was presented to the RWSABC by
Marion Taylor (Mills) & Ian Mills in memory of
Dad Harry Mills 24th January 1922 – 16th June 1971
Sister Helen Singer 9thMay 1952 – 24thAugust 1991
Mum Netta Mills 13th July 1924 – 17thApril 2004
Brother George Mills 20th April 1955 – 1st February 2016
Dad was the calm; Helen was the storm; Mum was our anchor;
and George was ……..just George xx