End of era for old ferry

IT is the end of an era at Felixstowe Ferry as the family which has run the foot ferry for more than a century is ending its connection with the service.

IT is the end of an era at Felixstowe Ferry as the family which has run the foot ferry for more than a century is ending its connection with the service.

Ferryman John White is retiring this month, two weeks before he reaches 65 – and giving up the job he loves.

But it won't be the end for the popular ferry service across the Deben to Bawdsey as the boatyard is to take over the running of the service.

Mr White is part of the Brinkley family which has operated the foot ferry from the jetty at the fishing hamlet for more than 100 years.


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During that time they have taken thousands of people across the estuary, including many military personnel when Bawdsey was radar station.

In the late 1800s, Mr White's wife's grandfather Charlie Brinkley ran the ferry. His son Charlie then took over in the 1960s, followed by his son Robert.

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Now Mr White, who has run the ferry for five years, believes it is time to take life a bit easier.

Mr White said: "You can get out there in the morning and there is not a breath of wind and it is just a magical place to be. What more could I have wanted?

"I shall miss many of the people – you get some lovely people on the ferry. There are long distance walkers, people walking around the British coast, long distant cyclists who use the ferry during the summer because we are on one of the main cycle routes and they are taking trips up to Newcastle and beyond.

"The Dutch and people from Belgium come across on the cross channel ferry and use us too. I like chatting to people and have enjoyed every moment of my time working here.

"Obviously there are days you would rather be ashore, but working on the river is a lovely thing to do. It is a seven days a week job in the summer, when you want to be sailing really. Now that I am going to be pensionable, I'm going to do a bit more sailing."

Mr White, who will carry on as harbourmaster, is married to Ann and it was her brother Robert who ran the ferry for a time.

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