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Tributes to boat death father

PUBLISHED: 17:03 02 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:44 02 March 2010

GREIVING relatives of a retired harbourmaster who died in an accident at a marina have spoken of their struggle to come to terms with his death.

Captain Victor Sutton was found dead, along with friend Charles 'Max' Pennington, at Levington Marina on the River Orwell on Sunday.

GREIVING relatives of a retired harbourmaster who died in an accident at a marina have spoken of their struggle to come to terms with his death.

Captain Victor Sutton was found dead, along with friend Charles 'Max' Pennington, at Levington Marina on the River Orwell on Sunday.

The two men had been staying aboard Mr Pennington's yacht, Genoa, after attending a dinner to mark the opening of Haven Ports Yacht Club's season.

It is not known exactly what happened, but police investigating the incident are not treating it as suspicious.

Speaking from the family home in Brook Lane, Felixstowe, yesterday, Capt Sutton's widow Anne and his three sons, Robert, Richard and Philip, told the of their devastation at the accident.

"It's a terrible shock and very hard to accept," said Robert, 40.

"Not knowing what happened is difficult to deal with. He is a sadly missed husband, dad and grandfather. It's just devastating having lost him and it's a struggle to come to terms with it.

"We are all grateful for the time that we had with him."

The family speculated that either Capt Sutton, 75, or Mr Pennington may have fallen into the marina, while the other man got into difficulties trying to effect a rescue.

"One was probably trying to get the other out and fell in," said Mrs Sutton.

"It would have been impossible for them to get back on the boat again - it was pitch black, and the water was very cold."

Educated at Framlingham College, Capt Sutton served as harbourmaster, general manager and chief executive for the Harwich Haven Authority (HHA) between 1971 and his retirement at the end of 1991.

He also served on both Felixstowe Town and Suffolk Coastal District Councils, and was awarded the MBE in 1983.

After his retirement, Capt Sutton did volunteer work for the Felixstowe Seafarers' Mission, and spent much of his time on his beloved Canal boat, Harnser.

Paying tribute to his father, Robert said: "He was a family man and very loving. He was kind and very loyal to his staff and the people he knew.

"He got more loveable as he got older really. He became kinder and more compassionate. He adored his two grandchildren and he loved playing with them."

Mrs Sutton, who had been married to her husband for more than 40 years, also said she was grateful to have been on a final holiday to Egypt with Capt Sutton, from which they returned just a few days before his death.

The family thanked everybody who has been in touch since the tragedy, saying it had helped them begin to get through their grief.

"Even now, it's very hard to come to terms with," said Mrs Sutton. "Everyone has been very kind, and I suppose now we realise just how many friends we've got.

"The support from friends and family has been a real help."

Capt Sutton's funeral will be held on April 8 at St John's Church in Felixstowe, starting at 11.45am.


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