DENNIS JAMES FISHER (d.2004)
Keith Hutton remembers an old friend and a Questor.
Questors who were active in the 1950s will remember Dennis Fisher as a young enthusiast who worked on lighting with Gerry Isenthal. I do so, as we were at Ealing County School together, we were in the 55th Ealing (St Peter’s) Scout Troop, and in St Peter’s Junior Fellowship Drama Section under the redoubtable Rena Rice’s leadership.
In his early 20s, Dennis was a very grown up person and displayed a serious and mature approach to every activity he turned his hand to. He was a loyal friend testing this attribute to the limit when I was working in Bristol in 1952, by driving down to see me on his modest Francis Barnett motorbike (Fanny B to his friends), without concern for the 120 miles journey, each way, within one day.
For a time he was in the Sea Cadets at Kingston (HMS Foudroyant, if memory serves me correctly) and he studied ‘Jane’s Fighting Ships’ from that time well into later life, having a burning ambition to serve in the Royal Navy, fulfilment denied him due to colour deficient sight. Instead, he did his National Service, usefully, with REME and followed it up working at Gillette Industries, Isleworth and later, ‘Satchwell’
It was during this period, and being a member of The Questors, that he met Joyce Rodwell, who was another enthusiast and excellent seamstress in Wardrobe. They married in June 1955 at Eastwoodbury Church, Essex and then set up home in Heston, which enabled them to maintain their Questors interests. Then, for a while, they lived in King’s Langley until Dennis, having had a change of career, became an Inspector with the Paper and Paper Products Industry Training Board. In 1962 he was posted to East Kilbride; his work involved visiting paper mills throughout Scotland and the west of England. Soon, he and Joyce discovered the Isle of Whithorn, Wigtownshire, where they restored a long-closed café, which Joyce ran and into which they eventually incorporated a Post Office. Dennis continued his travels for a year, before concentrating on the new enterprise. They jointly served the locals and tourists for 20 years before selling up to enjoy a well earned retirement.
My only visit to their idyllic home was in 1976 and I was due to go there about twenty years later. Having made a half-way overnight stop in Bradford, my car was stolen and trashed. Dennis had cancelled a walking expedition for my benefit and was not best pleased that I could not get there. Over the years I kept them informed about The Questors and enrolled them with the Tin Hutters. Dennis was just as sanguine and philosophical about The Way Forward proposals, as frequently he was about life.
Dennis and Joyce led a busy life, with hill-walking in the Lake District and the Galloway Hills, being a particular high priority for Dennis. He was also keen on photography, pottering on the computer, delving into his many books on Naval history and listening to recordings of music from the theatre.
Latterly, breathing problems prevented him visiting his beloved hills his last walk was in mid 2003. Then, on 7 December 2004 he was admitted to Dumfries Hospital with a lung infection, and died a week later.
Throughout his life, Dennis endeared himself, naturally, to everyone he met, and we all have the most joyous memories of a happy and contented person. Our deepest sympathy goes to Joyce, his wife of almost 50 years.
[Questopics 498, February 2004]