In Memoriam, Mandy Blain

  • 31 May 2021 16:39
    Reply # 10577616 on 10360558
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Mandy was absolutely vital in all the admin side of first Sunbird Yachts, then Sunbird Marine Services, and at the same time with starting and running the JRA. On top of that and raising a family, she also ran the local Cub Scouts pack, which come to think of it, was probably a bit like running the JRA.

    She was also a lovely person, very welcoming and helpful, and also very practical, doing much of the DIY in the Blain's home.

    Jenny & I saw a lot of her in the early years, as Guy is the same age as our oldest son, and we lived just down the road, so they had plenty of play dates.

    We remember her very fondly, and wish Chris and Guy and their families well in this difficult time.

  • 28 Apr 2021 21:10
    Reply # 10390678 on 10360558

    How sad to read that Mandy has passed away. 

    Mandy and Robin were an amazing team. Robin supplying the enthusiasm and technical knowledge backed up by Mandy's organisational and practical skills, not to mention her tireless work for the Association. Mandy was happy to be in the background without seeking recognition, but all who knew her appreciated her hard work. 

    Mandy and Robin were good friends to me and were always willing to help. They made my entry into 2006 Jester Challenge possible. Whilst out of the UK Robin found me a suitable boat and stored her over the winter at their home in Dorset. They then put me up for two weeks whilst I gave Shanty a quick refit. I was treated as one of the family and Mandy looked after me exceedingly well. The only stern look from Mandy, not surprisingly, was when I burnt out the foot controller on her sewing machine! I have very fond memories of my time with them. 

    For me it is hard to separate Mandy from Robin. They complimented each other so well with their own different strengths. 

    The JRA were fortunate for them to oversee the formative decades of our Association.  The ethos that they brought to the foundation of the JRA continues today. Long may that last. 

  • 28 Apr 2021 08:01
    Reply # 10381873 on 10360558

    It was at the 1979 Southampton Boat Show that I first met Mandy. I noticed the handwritten poster on the Sunbird Marine stand inviting me to join the newly-formed JRA, and approached to show interest. "Oh good, you're the first!", said Mandy. Always straightforward in speech and actions, you knew where you were with her.

    From that point onwards, through the whole of the paper-based, pre-digital phase of the JRA's existence, Mandy's hard work behind the scenes dealing with the admin and "sorting Robin out" as Guy put it, was nothing short of vital. Without it, the JRA would have folded long since.

    The best way we can thank her for that is to keep on reporting here on our junk rig activities, building our boats, making junk rig conversions and above all going sailing, so that wherever she is now, Mandy is paid back by being able to watch the JRA thriving.

    Fair winds, Mandy.

  • 28 Apr 2021 01:21
    Reply # 10377629 on 10360558

    It was with a heavy heart that I read of another dear friend's death.  In her last letter to me, Mandy sais how much she still enjoyed being involved in the JRA: "I have to live through other people's news, and the JRA has been interesting with the boats for sale and not much else as there hasn't been any cruising apart from David's jaunt north."  She also wrote how sadly her life had been interrupted by Lockdown and that her stamina was diminishing.    Her health continued to deteriorate and I'm sure that not being able to involve herself in her usual social activites can't have helped.  It must have been hugely frustrating for such an active woman.  Finally, of course, she was diagnosed with cancer.  Of course she made light of it: "Please don't get soppy, I am fine, well looked after, Guy, Nicky and my local friends are all making my life very easy - it just feels like a chance to be lazy."

    Mandy was a woman from a different era, with values that are no longer common.  She was strong and supportive of family, friends and community (the JRA being one of those to benefit from her energy and powers of organisation).  She was loyal, hard-working, with complete integrity and an ability to find time for things she believed important.  With her having given so much to others, it is heartwarming to know that she felt well cared for in her final months.  There are too few people like Mandy in the world and she will be sorely missed.

  • 27 Apr 2021 23:06
    Reply # 10376143 on 10360558
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear Gavin, 

    Thank you so much for summarising Mandy so well and giving her the immense credit she deserves from the JRA. 

    How incredibly sad, and totally unfair of life, for both Robin and Mandy to leave us so early and so unexpectedly. 

    She was a unique life-force, but I felt she never recovered from the pain of losing Robin.  I was  surprised to see her not being her usual energetic self two years ago when Pete and I visited her. 

    Clearing her loft and helping with the boat, was a tiny little gesture for so much help and assistance we got from Mandy and Robin over the years. Not to mention their warm friendship and welcome.  Were it not for them I definitely would not be having the life I am having now. So I remain deeply indebted and grateful to them both. 

    They were lovely, dear friends who enriched our lives and who left us too suddenly and too early. I will always miss them. 

    In great sadness and with fondest memories.


  • 26 Apr 2021 17:26
    Message # 10360558

    In Memoriam: Mandy Blain

    It is with immense sadness that I report the passing of Mandy Blain, wife and life partner of Robin Blain and without a hint of exaggeration, the Mother of the JRA. Without the unsung hard work and dedication of Mandy Blain no-one would be reading these words today or enjoying their membership of this organisation. From the formation of the JRA in 1980, with Mandy as Secretary, almost all administrative work was carried out by her for the next 20+ years.

    For those too young to know or too old to remember, the technological assistance available in those early years was a.] a manual typewriter (the first Newsletter Editor, Richard Stroud, was using a 1936 Underwood)  b.] a landline phone c.] access to a ‘duplicator’ (early photocopier)… if you knew someone working for a large company.

    While Robin fielded hundreds of enquiries and handwrote reams of letters from would-be junk rig sailors, Mandy hand-typed multiple copies of the newsletter and the address labels, filled the envelopes, maintained membership records, subscriptions and the association accounts by hand, year after year, and was always a willing hand to physically set up and manage the many rallies and meetings that the association organised and the regular attendance of the JRA at Boat Shows.

    Mandy Blain’s planning abilities and adroit adoptions of later technological advances such as word-processing, email and spreadsheets, sustained the association’s survival and success through the decades that followed. The unfailing support she provided to Robin and other committee members was an invaluable contribution both to the functioning and to the enjoyment the JRA has provided to its hundreds of members over the years.

    Guy Blain has penned this note to friends of the family; since that will surely include many remaining members of the JRA, it reads as follows:

    It is with sadness that I must let you know of my mother’s passing the morning of last Tuesday (20th).

     As you may have known Mum was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer towards the end of last year. She accepted this news with outstanding grace and fortitude and was determined to make the very best of her time left, intending to see her improvements to her garden come to fruition.

    Mum was at home in the last months, with excellent palliative care and my brother Chris and I were with her at the end and she did indeed get to see all her bulbs, planted last winter, come up into bloom as she wished.

    Due to Covid and other complications, the funeral will be held over until early June. We are looking to enable live streaming if possible or at the very least a video recording of the service, the details of which we will forward onto you.

    If you wish to share your thoughts and memories of her, please do, so I can also share with family and friends, this email address will remain active for a while:

     I hope that you remember my mother at her best and find peace in that she has re-joined my father and will be sorting him out once more!”

     Guy Blain

       " ...there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in junk-rigged boats" 
                                                               - the Chinese Water Rat

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