Tribute: Gary Thorne

  |  Published: May 1st 2016

Gary was born in Bagshot Surrey on 21st December 1960 being joined later by two younger sisters Nichola and Beverly. The family eventually moved to Weston Turville where Gary grew up attending the local village school.  He was a very bright child who passed his 11 plus and went to the Sir Henry Floyd school where he did very well learning hard, often doing his homework in the Green Man pub with his mates. He had numerous after school jobs always on the go and eventually at 17 Gary decided to join the Royal Navy where, again, he excelled, rising quickly to the rank of Charge Chief Petty Officer. Most of Gary’s 24 year career was on nuclear submarines where he was very popular and always ready to stick his neck out for the Junior Rates and help in anyway he could.


Gary was always a team player, enjoying playing Rugby and gaining his ABA Badge for Boxing. Not only did he have many fights himself, he eventually coached the naval boxing squad. One of his greatest passions was the Devonport Field Gun Crew who ran at Earls Court against Pompey and Fleet Air Arm and anyone who knew Gary will know that’s where the famous red socks came from . . . winter or summer!


Gary met Toni in 1992. They married in Kenya in 1995 and Toni became stepmum to Gary’s son Elliot. They moved back to Wendover from Plymouth when Gary’s naval career was coming to an end. Gary always loved to help and become involved with lots of different things. 


He found it slightly difficult on leaving the navy so he threw himself into community life willing to help and organise where needed. He got a job locally with Ulrich Attachments where he was the Production Manager. He did join the local council for a short time but work commitments meant he couldn’t give it the time and dedication it needed, so he had to leave but always said he would like to return when he had more time . . . always commenting, “there’s no point moaning about something if you aren’t prepared to do something about it!”


Gary organised so many things, dragging people out of their beds at 6am on New Year’s Day to sweep up after the fireworks! He would also organise work parties to clear up the graveyard with the members of Hampden Lodge as by this time he had also joined the Masons . . . I’m sure people would quiver when they saw him approaching thinking “Oh Lord, what does he want us to do now?!”


Gary’s local pub was The White Swan. From there he organised the team for the annual Coombe Hill run, raising lots of money for local charities and this year, of course, the team will be running in memory of Gary for the charity Brain Tumour Research.


Gary quite simply was one of the most kind and generous people you could wish to meet and was always willing to help in any way he could. He is greatly mourned. We lost one of our greats on 29 February 2016.

Gary in uniform
Gary recently
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