The Probus Club of St Annes-on-the-Sea

Eddie Horner
11 April 1922 - 28 March 2011

We are saddened to learn of the death of Eddie who was admitted to Trinity Hospice on Monday 28th March and sadly died the same day.  He had been suffering from cancer for some time, being lovingly cared for by Sylvia, his wife, at home.

Eddie would have been 89 this month [April 2011] and joined Probus in 1982 and had continued attending meetings regularly until early March. (Eddie was probably the second most long-serving member).

He was married to Sylvia for thirty happy years and leaves a son Stephen and daughter-in-law Sue, two grand children and a great grandson.  He also felt privileged to have a great grand daughter, two step-children and two step-grandchildren.

Eddie was a qualified engineer and volunteered for Air Crew in 1944 as a Flight Engineer and, since retirement, was a founder of the Wednesday Men (a group of men caring for and maintaining St. Anne’s Parish Church).  He was a “real gentleman” – always doffed his cap to the ladies!  Among his many interests was his recreational walks with Sylvia and his many friends, a keen gardener with a love of cycling.  Eddie was always pleasant company with wonderful tales of experiences of his past.  He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

Les Hall

Eddie wrote the following account of his life in October 2010, just five months before he died -

Edwin (Eddie) Horner’s Life

Edwin was the middle one of three brothers. Their father was on the Police Force at Blackburn and was a hard disciplinarian.  Leaving school at 14 he served a seven year apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering, working a 48 hour week and, in winter, three nights at night school.

When war started he joined the Home Guard and later transferred to the Home Guard Band, playing the clarinet. Because he was in a reserved occupation the only way he could join up was for RAF Aircrew.  He never flew with the  RAF but was the only “Limey” in a Canadian Lancaster crew as Flight Engineer, flying on a Canadian Squadron.  After half a tour on Main Force the crew, staying together, transferred onto Pathfinders for a further tour.  Edwin’s best “ops” were dropping food to the Dutch at the end of the Hunger Winter and ferrying ex-prisoners of war home on VE Day.

There was also the occasion on a daylight raid over Germany when the compressor driving the bomb sight seized. Edwin connected up the compressor used for the brakes and after a successful run, reconnected the brakes.  This amazed the rest of the crew.

Life in the Services was great with plenty of Athletics.  He ran at White City in London in the British Empire Games and came second in the 440 yds with a time of 50 secs.  After VE Day the Canadians were sent home to retrain against Japan.  They wanted Edwin to go with them but this was not allowed so he volunteered for the RAF Regiment and was sent out to Palestine.  At first he served briefly in Austria and hitch hiked home to marry Marjorie Scholes in 1946.  His twins, Marjorie and Stephen, were born as a result of the honeymoon!  When demobbed he went full time to college at Bolton to get his Higher National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering and later his MIMechE

He was made redundant at 60 because radio valves were no longer needed and at the same time he lost his wife Marjorie through cancer after 34 happy years.  The twins were married and so he started walking with the local CHA group.  He went on his first Holiday Fellowship walking holiday with a friend from church and met Sylvia and so started phase two of married life.

Sylvia had lost her first husband four years earlier, so it was decided to start a new life where nobody knew them.  He wanted a bungalow so that he could do his own maintenance and with a garage large enough for a workshop.  She wanted a garden to fill the freezer and they found their ideal home in St. Annes a few months after the wedding in Altrincham.

They had 30 happy years, making friends in the Parish Church, two Bridge Clubs, Sequence Dancing and leading walks for the CHA.  They also felt they had started another family because of the time they were able to spend with the grandchildren at home and on holiday, teaching them to swim, ride bicycles, read and play card and board games instead of relying on TV.

Edwin was a founder member of the Wednesday Men and really enjoyed the time they spent together.  He was also in Probus and a Founder Member of the Blackpool Branch of the Air Crew Association where he took a very active part, being at times Events Officer, Chairman, President and organising the walking group along with Sylvia.  They led 8 Ambles a year for 19 years and covered something like 400 miles in the process!

During the past 18 years or so, Monday has been regarded as a holiday to be spent with Ken and Jean, their in-laws, either walking or cycling.  They completed the Ribble Way in 1992 and later the Lancashire Trail.  The cycling holidays in Holland, East Anglia and Derbyshire were very memorable.  Not being TV fans they spent a lot of time gardening, which was both pleasant and productive and led to the wine and jam-making and some discussion over the amount of sugar being used!

Edwin was kind, thoughtful and very aware of peoples’ needs.  He often helped people in distress before his companions had even noticed something was wrong.  He was a maintenance engineer all his life both at home and away.

Except for the last sentence, Edwin himself wrote this life history.  He was a happy man.