Wednesday, 5 October 2016

A tribute to my friend Graham.

I was shocked and saddened to recently hear that my great friend Graham Dibsdall had passed away after having suffered a heart attack.
I first met Graham while canoe sailing on Loch Lomond. He was taking part in an OCSG local meet to the less frequented northern end of the loch. Graham was such a friendly guy and I immediately felt totally at ease in his company. At that time I had only just started canoe sailing and was a little in awe of more established sailors but Graham was totally down to earth and approachable. His boat "Cochon Vert" (or Green Pig) was a triumph of recycling. By his own admission Graham had built the boat to a tight budget but although many of the components were second hand the design and execution were excellent and Graham's handiwork was very impressive.
 Over the following months I met Graham again at various OCSG meets and got to know him better. He was going through a bit of a rough patch in his life and was keen to get away from things as often as possible. This dovetailed perfectly with my obsession to get out in my sailing canoe and gain more experience and we ended up doing a number of memorable trips together. Graham was a superb mentor to me and on several occasions when conditions became challenging he patiently shepherded me through the experience. It was reassuring to have Graham sailing along with me and although his boat was quicker and more sea worthy than mine he never showed any frustration at having to wait for me. In camp Graham was an amazing cook, making delicious food from ingredients that sometimes sounded unlikely. He often caught fish while we were sailing and we supplemented our meals with this and fresh mussels that he harvested from the sea. Graham wasn't a big drinker but he was partial to the odd beer or dram of whisky by the campfire while we sat and chatted. It transpired that we shared tastes in music and were both motorcyclists so we always had plenty in common to chat about. Over the following years I had loads of memorable adventures with Graham in the company of our mutual canoe sailing friends. Graham was always the same, a fun, reliable, entertaining, resourceful guy and great company to be with.
More recently I've seen less of Graham, not because we'd fallen out but because he'd found happiness in his life. He'd recently relocated to Cumbria with his partner Carole where they were building a new life together for themselves.
 It seems terribly unfair that Graham should lose his life just when things were really looking up for him and I can't begin to imagine how difficult things must be for Carole and Graham's family.
 I shall miss Graham immensely and will always remember him fondly, sitting contentedly by a campfire, fishing for mackerel or blasting along in the Green Pig, sail fully unfurled, kicking up plumes of spray while everyone else was reefed down.


  1. Only just seen, this but what a lovely tribute to Graham , who I unfortunately didn't have as much opportunity to sail with as you but foe me sailing in the company of Graham was one of the main reasons to attend OCSG meetings.

  2. Chris, can't believe that l have only just read your blog after all this time. Thank you for remembering Graham so fondly and so accurately! I miss him so very much.I am taking my first holiday alone in Yorkshire without Graham. I walked part of the Pennine way today and as usual was talking to the dogs about Graham and how I wished he was with us. Graham had no idea how much he touched others lives. I am so glad that you were friends. He always talked of you and valued your friendship immensely. Carole x

    1. Hi Carole, I've only just noticed your comment (and Adam's) over two months later! Sorry, Blogger doesn't notify of comments so I only spotted these when compiling another blog entry just now. I hope you're well and doing okay. Best wishes, Chris.