Tributes to river death yachtsman

A DEVASTATED wife has paid tribute to her “jolly and jovial” husband who died after falling into the River Orwell.

A DEVASTATED wife has paid tribute to her “jolly and jovial” husband who died after falling into the River Orwell.

Great-grandfather Melvyn Shaw, 68, was found in the river at 11.20am on Saturday just metres from his 26ft yacht The Isle of Pentarchy.

The Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service rushed to the scene and desperately battled to keep the pensioner alive. He was taken to Fox's Marina in Wherstead but died shortly afterwards.

Mr Shaw, who used to be the landlord of The One Bull in Bury St Edmunds and The Stag Tavern in Stowmarket, had been preparing to join other members of Orwell Yacht Club at a barbecue.

His wife Shirley, who lived with him in Grainge Way, Haughley, near Stowmarket, told how she was “absolutely devastated”.

She said: “It is just a tragic thing. I just cannot describe how I feel and it has not sunk in at all.

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“He died doing what he loved doing. He was a perfect husband and could put his hand to anything. He was a very hard worker and was well liked by everybody.

“He was jolly and jovial, he was always singing and he was never in a bad mood. He sang everywhere that he went and he used to serenade me every morning and sing 'good night sweetheart' in the evening.”

Mrs Shaw said her husband had been a member of Orwell Yacht Club for about ten years and, if the weather was good, he would go down to the club every day.

“He lived and died for his boat, he loved it,” she said. “He lived for today and was one of those gentle giants.”

John Cresswell, chairman of the Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service, battled to save Mr Shaw's life.

He said: “We were called by a yacht who said he was in the water. He had only just gone in and we were there in two minutes. We started CPR straight away but unfortunately that did not work out.”

Richard Bull, 61, a fellow member of Orwell Yacht Club, said Mr Shaw was preparing to leave for a barbecue. His body was found in the water north of the Orwell Bridge by other club members.

Mr Bull said: “It is a real tragedy. He was a real character and will be a great loss to the club.”

Mr Shaw, who used to be in the Royal Navy, leaves behind one daughter, called Dyane Barns, two step-daughters, two step-sons, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

He will be cremated at West Suffolk Crematorium in Bury St Edmunds following a post-mortem. His family have requested that any donations go to Orwell Yacht Club.

n. Send your tributes to Mr Shaw to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, email or go online to