A Ray of Sunshine, by Stephen Perham
One of the most distinctive sounds of my childhood was the unmistakeable buzz of a ‘Seagull’ outboard engine. Two local fishermen, Si Headon and his son Norman, ran boat trips in much the same way as I do today, but they used two 18ft picarooners “Sunrise” and “Sunshine”.
Si and Norman worked every tide they could loading from the steps when the sea was high or using a wooden boarding plank on the low water. Norman with his Land Rover would drag the boats into the water in the morning and pull them out again at the end of the day. With their brightly decorated flags the boats were instantly recognisable.
Following the death of Si in 1982, Norman continued with one boat for a season but shortly after decided to retire. “Sunshine” was given to the Maritime Museum in Exeter while “Sunrise” was sold privately.
Following a few years on the river Torridge and after an accident had damaged her hull, the “Sunrise” was left on Appledore Quay, where she remained until her owner, who was emigrating to New Zealand, gave her to the North Devon Maritime Museum in Appledore, where she now awaits restoration.
“Sunshine” had to leave Exeter after the Maritime Museum closed and ended up in a museum far away in Eyemouth where she was put on display. Sadly, Eyemouth museum was also to close, and an auction was held to sell off its contents which included “Sunshine”.
“Sunshine” was bought by ‘Marine Film Services Limited’ which is a company that supply boats to the film and television industry. They have a large collection of over 160 boats and cater for all aspects of marine film work including dive specialists and boatbuilders. Their credits include, Poldark, Outlaw King and Dr Doolittle in which “Sunshine” also starred.
Today “Sunshine” has a new life, and will no doubt be taking a starring role in many more productions, she is a credit to Clovelly and well and truly a ray of Sunshine.
Picture reproduced by kind permission of Richard Carless of Marine Film Services Limited