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VALE: Jock Orr

by Stuart Tuttlebury

I am not surprised that we had trouble with an obituary for Jock.  He was the sort of person you knew and admired but really knew very little about. There was always so much going on, and he never said much about himself.

He will always be remembered for his sense of humour, his cave photography in the late 1960s, and the wonderful drawings he produced which complemented the magnificent word craft of Alfie Collins for the book Reflections, which was also produced in the late 60s.  Jock was Hut Engineer for a spell and although I was not around then, I am sure that he put all his skills and effort into the job.

We all have our memories, but one of mine is the impish smile on his face when he showed me the slides of his fire eating episode taken one Christmas at the Belfry.  Those that were there will remember the charred remains of the decorations hanging from the ceiling, and the flames issuing forth from the mouths of Jock and his disciples.

The little that I have learned and witnessed about Jock¬ís life over the years has made a big impression on me.  He served in the Second World War in Italy, sustaining a severe leg wound firing field guns from a distance at the Germans as he put it, and in Yugoslavia supporting the resistance fighters.  He had a son and a daughter by his first wife, and four younger sisters, and married Judith in 1974.  I met him at work in 1966 where he was inspecting mechanical components for armaments (bomb and missile fuses).  His skills included tool making and technical drawing, and I am sure others that I knew nothing about.  The meticulous car maintenance that he carried out, included taking everything from under the car, cleaning and painting with bitumen paint before reassembling, plus much use of glass fibre for body work.  The jobs around the home that were carried out, from constructing a soak away in the drive, faultlessly tiling the bathroom (he did admit a mistake - but I could not find it) to all the wiring, plumbing, redesigning and building etc.  The 10ft became his office, just like the drawing in the back of the book Reflections - and his artistic skills were set on one side as being a complete waste of time compared to home making!

For at least the last fifteen years of his life, Jock and Judith were working on turning a plot of land on the west coast of Scotland into a home, inspired by a holiday in a croft west of Mellon Udrigle in 1985.  Jock did all the design work and drawings, they negotiated their way through all of the planning legalities, and got to levelling the site and installing electricity and water, which Jock thoroughly enjoyed helping the contractors with.  They then had to take stock and decided to sell and return to their bungalow near Lincoln for the winter.

Those of us who knew Jock I am sure will never forget him, he will live on in our memories.