Reflections of a traditional boatbuilder

“I’ve known Mike Atfield since I was a boy.  Over the years, like so many others, I would pop in to see him at his workshop on Island Street.  As we chatted, Mike would apply his expert skills, which were an art form, to the boat he was building at the time.  On one such visit in early 2017, Mike told me that the hull laid out in his workshop would be his last.  After more than 55 years of creating beautifully designed and crafted wooden boats such as the Salcombe Yawl and countless motor launches and rowing dinghies for his customers, he had finally decided to hang up his tools and retire.

During our conversation that day, I asked Mike whether he would be happy for me to record his memories, as a gift, from the local community and me.  I was delighted when Mike agreed, and even more so when Jean, his wife, decided to take part as well.  I am grateful to them both for talking to me, opening up to me about their lives, and helping me make their film.  I must also express my thanks to my wonderful friend and colleague, Rebecca Kenyon, for helping me to tell their story.”

Philip Williams

The film is available to stream online and proceeds will be donated to the RNLI.

Mike has so many stories about living and working in Salcombe, and I had the pleasure of spending some more time with him recording these.  We are delighted to share these stories with you.

There are nine episodes in total and you can listen to them below.

Mike Atfield is a traditional wooden boatbuilder based in Salcombe in Devon, England. For well over half a century, he built more than 120 boats using the skills he learned as an apprentice and went on to perfect during his career.

In this intimate film, we watch Mike building his last boat alongside his wife, Jean, before he retires. Together they reflect on their life in a coastal community, where traditional skills are up against the challenges that are met when trying to pass them on to the next generation.

Runtime approximately 50 minutes.

You can rent or buy the film to watch online by clicking here.

A DVD of the film can be purchased separately for £9.99 including postage within the United Kingdom.

You can order a copy by clicking the PayPal button below

or contact us using the contact form. 

Walking into our memories – how a 6,000-mile walk around the coastline of Britain for Alzheimer’s inspired Philip Williams to set up About Me For You.

Philip started About Me For You after he completed his 6,000-mile walk around Britain’s coastline for Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer Scotland, the inspiration behind our autobiography service.  In his article for Savills (The Waterfront Collection Magazine, Issue 3) he writes about his walk and how it led him to the work he does now.

You can read the article by clicking the link here and you can download the magazine by clicking on the picture below.

Philip is our interviewer and book editor.  He works with a shortlist of lighting camera operators, film editors and book designers to create your life story in a way that will be valued and treasured by your family and future generations forever.

Mind my wings

Video Thumbnail

In this short extract from her personal documentary, Madeline recounts the time her daughter, Alison, wanted wings with her role in the school play.

Looking after the river

Video Thumbnail

Our client, Nick, explains how he looks after the river in his garden.  This extract is taken from our film which was commissioned by Nick and his family – a memento of the house they were selling after 67 years of family ownership.

Memories of a World War Two RAF veteran

We talk to Eric Williamson at his home in Suffolk about his childhood memories, his time in the RAF during the war and reflections of running an award-winning wine shop in Aldeburgh with Benjamin Britten amongst its regular visitors. Length – 42:32.

Eric Williamson

 

World Cup 1966 – The Reunion

Even if you weren’t there, or watching it on television, even if you weren’t born on the 30th July 1966, it’s a date etched on the heart of every England football fan. It’s the day England, at Wembley, after progressing through a tournament full of controversy, excitement and some extraordinary upsets, won the World Cup.

Inside the stadium were almost 94,000 fans. On television, the audience was 400 million. Watching it now, it seems somehow more than four decades away. It’s not just the grainy black and white film – it’s the cropped hair and short shorts of the players, the lack of logos on the England shirts – just three heraldic lions; it’s also the measured, understated commentary of Kenneth Wolstenholme, all on his own throughout the match.

The goals, when they came, produced little jumping about and no hysteria – it was more a case of a rather satisfied jig. When Bobby Moore took the trophy from the Queen and held it up for the crowd to see, he didn’t forget to wipe his hands first. It was, without doubt, England’s greatest sporting victory.

In this episode of The Reunion, originally transmitted in 2006, Sue MacGregor gathers five men – three of them players – who made that day so extraordinary.

Hat-trick goal scorer Sir Geoff Hurst, and his fellow West Ham player Martin Peters; George Cohen, known as Mr. Dependable, who played for Fulham; the man in charge of BBC television’s coverage of the match, Alan Weeks; and one of the all important admin men – the team liaison manager for the London matches throughout the tournament, Alan Leather.

1966 World Cup

Listen here.