ABOUT STEWART LENTON
Stewart Lenton (b 1940) graduated BSc (Civil Engineering) from Bristol University but caught the flying bug in the University Air Squadron and joined the RAF on graduating. He flew the Canberra with two photographic reconnaissance squadrons and a joint RAF/RN electronic warfare training squadron, and was a flying instructor on the Jet Provost and the Canberra. He met and married his wife Liz, who was an RAF doctor while serving in Malta.
After 17 years in the RAF he became an airline pilot for 23 years with several different airlines including Dan Air, Inter- European, Ambassador, Sabre, flying in succession the BAC 1-11, Boeing 727 & 737 and eventually the Lockheed 10-11 Tri-Star with Caledonian until approaching 60 years, he was forced to retire because at that time the French authorities would not allow anyone of that age to overfly French air space in command of an aircraft. Not quite ready to hang up his goggles, he accepted a command flying the DASH 8 on internal routes with Brymon Airways which resulted in his living in Plymouth when he eventually retired in 2001.
His hobbies include Chorale singing and he is currently a member of Plymouth Minster Choir and the West Devon Chorale. He has always enjoyed sailing and is a qualified RYA Offshore Skipper. In retirement he became a volunteer senior watch keeper at Rame Head National Coast Watch Institution (NCI) station Cornwall which used skills both from his aeronautical career and his hobby of off shore sailing. He and Liz also ran marriage preparation workshops from their home overlooking Plymouth Sound for a few years until they found that they needed more time to devote to writing and photography for his books.
Stewart never had any ambition to write books! In his duties with the NCI he started taking photographs of fishing boats to assist identification and correct logging of boats that passed the watch. He soon found that he was doing the same for other Coastwatch stations. Finding that he had thus built up a collection of the majority all the registered fishing boats in Devon & Cornwall he was persuaded by the Falmouth Maritime Museum to complete the collection and publish this ‘unique reference’. As a bonus he and Liz found that seeking out fishing boats was an enjoyable way of getting to know their new area. His resulting first two books the ‘Fishing Boats and Ports of Cornwall/Devon’(2006) are not only a photographic collection of registered fishing boats but a description of the places from which they operate and contain an introductory section by Liz written from a non fishing boat enthusiast’s point of view. In these she includes snippets of information about the coastal areas they visited and fishing communities post and present in the hope that it will whet the appetite of the reader to explore the coast in this way and make their own discoveries. After this, by request of some coastal bookshops, Stewart produced a useful booklet ‘What is the meaning of the Letters and Numbers on Fishing Boats?’ in 2008. They continue to explore other coastal areas they visit in a similar way and ‘Fishing Boats and Ports of Wales – A Way to Explore’ has now been published in Nov 2010.
Stewart is sometimes available to give talks to local groups and organisations (eg Probus,WI etc)
ABOUT LIZ LENTON
Liz (nee Stuart) qualified as a doctor in 1966 having already been accepted into the RAF as a medical cadet in her penultimate year in St Andrews University. In fact she was the first woman RAF Cadet and held a commission in the unusually lowly rank, for a medical officer, of pilot officer. After graduating MB.Chb at St Andrews she finished her pre-registration house jobs in NHS Hospitals in the rank of Flying Officer and was elevated to the rank of Flight Lieutenant on gaining full registration and commencing duries as an RAF Medical Officer. As an MO she was in the RAF not WRAF and held ranks which in those days were regarded as male ranks. This caused some confusion and amusement. When she met and married Stewart Lenton during her first posting to RAF Malta their engagement announcement appeared to indicate that two male Flight lieutenants were to be married! (Perhaps not such an eyebrow raiser these days but ex service people will understand its impossibility then especially someone in the armed forces!)
Liz served eight years in the RAF in spite of the difficulty she and Stewart had in getting postings together. When she left the RAF she worked in some family planning clinics and did STC hospital sessions in the Rutland/Leicestershire areas before accompanying Stewart when he was posted back to Malta for 3 years on his final tour in the RAF. He then had around 21 years flying from London Gatwick and for most of this time they lived in a nearby Sussex village where Liz was GP and also did various hospital sessions in the area in a variety of disciplines – Ophthalmology (Eye Bank), both Medicine and Psychiatry for the elderly, and Dermatology. She finally retired from medical work on moving with Stewart to Plymouth in Feb 2000 which coincided with her being treated for breast cancer. Having qualified as a CWR Christian counsellor in 1990 and she did some voluntary counselling until 2009. In 2002 she and Stewart became founder Trustees of Plymouth Community Family Trust a charity that specialised in teaching relationship skills in an attempt to prevent family breakdown, and they held marriage preparation workshops in their home overlooking Plymouth Sound, as well as running this organisation. Liz was very much involved with Stewart in exploring the coastal areas of Devon and Cornwall for his fishing boat photography and turning this into books with a wider appeal than just to those connected with the fishing industry. She contributed introductory sections to the Fishing Boats and Ports books of Devon and Cornwall expressing the fun she had had exploring in this way and including snippets of information that she had discovered in the hope of sparking off an interest in others to discover more for themselves. As this was taking much of their time they handed the relationship education and running of the Plymouth Community Family Trust to others.
Liz became fascinated with the historical aspects of fishing communities particularly how the fishing industry involved whole families even young children. Fishing communities have always been hard working and resilient and have had to adapt to change. This is still the case and their traditional way of life is now under some threat. She was keen to contribute to the record about past and present fishing communities in various places in the country and particularly to interest the younger generation and those who had no prior knowledge of them. Attempting to appeal to this group, she decided to write about them through the adventures of some cats with special powers who could travel through history and who lived in fishing communities. This seemed natural to her as she is fond of cats and at one time even bred pedigree cats in a small way, and she also likes to draw cats. ‘TT Cats and their Fishing Families’ written and illustrated by Liz was published in 2009.. In 2010 she wrote a section in ‘The Fishing Boats and Ports of Wales’ called ‘Exploring in Pursuit of Fishing Boats by Liz ’which like her shorter introductions in the Devon & Cornwall books, is written from the viewpoint of a non fishing boat enthusiast and sets out to emphasise that just accompanying someone who is, can be a good way to explore and get to know a coastal earea, and spark off an interest in its history.
Liz has designed the covers of all the books by Stewart Lenton and ‘TT Cats and their Fishing Families’.
ABOUT JACK SPENCE
Jack was born in Devonport Plymouth in 1943. In the introduction to his latest book 'Plymouth Minster - A History of St Andrew's' he tells how he remembers being taken by his mother to see the bombed St Andrew's Church, by then 'a Garden Church'. He later became a chorister and sang at times with his choir at the church. Jack attended one of Plymouth's best known schools 'Devonport High School'. After this, he left Plymouth to follow a career in Air Traffic Control, first in the Royal Air force and then as a civilian, after his retirement from the RAF, when he simply moved offices upstairs from his RAF role to the civilian offices at Air Control Headquarters in London.
He has always been interested in the history of the city of Plymouth and has kept his mother's photographs of her place of work in Plymouth centre before and after it was bombed. He has also written about his father's life. On his return to Plymouth after his retirement from paid employment, he continued to research the history of the city and its environs including the Smuggling and Naval History relating to Plymouth Sound. Returning with his wife to worship at Plymouth's ancient church, Jack found it remarkable that there had been no notable attempt in 130 years to write the history of St Andrews Church - a minster since 2009, in view of its history which mirrors that of Plymouth itself and could date from Saxon times. In spite of the difficulties of lost or incomplete records during St Andrew's long history including turbulent times during the reformation, Civil war and world wars with bomb damage, he set about researching and writing his own the history of what is now the Minster Church of St Andrews.
As in his previous books all profit from their sale will be donated to charity.
His previous works include;
'There I was at 20,000 Feet - The Best of RAF Humour' ISBN 0-7137-2147-2 first published in 1990 by Blandford 'The Smugglers of Cawsand Bay' 'Nelson's Avenger The Life of Commander John Pollard RN of Cawsand, Cornwall'
'Nelson's Avenger and the Smugglers of Plymouth Sound' 2009