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  Léonie Dowsett, 1943-2019

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Léonie, after a long and bravely fought battle with cancer.

Within the Club she will be most recently remembered for her unstinting support on our race start lines, raising and lowering flags and offering wise advice on the niceties of race-running.

She and Chris were stalwart club members virtually from the beginning, racing their yacht Dragonfly on Breydon to great effect, joining in with every club cruise, attending all the land-based events and, latterly, every regatta to help on the line as 'flags and gun.'  As well as racing at our events, they were regularly to be seen at Wroxham week, racing Léonie's BOD, Goshawk.  They also travelled abroad with the Brown Boat, sailing her on far-flung foreign waters, as well as at the Diamond Jubilee Regatta on Lake Lothing in 2012.

Léonie was invariably accompanied by her two German Shepherd dogs, which would lie out on Dragonfly's aft deck while their mistress was socialising ashore.  This usually meant cider at lunchtime, white wine in the evening and, when cruising, industrial quantities of Pimms at 6 o'clock, for which Léonie would scour supermarket shelves, looking for the most interesting and exotic fruits to add to the concoction.

In later years, having reluctantly sold Dragonfly, Chris and Léonie bought a large ex-hire motor boat, which Léonie christened Pelican, as it was big, white and ugly, but floated.  With this they continued to join in at Club events and to cruise widely across the Broads system, accompanied not only by the dogs, but also Léonie's two African grey parrots.  Her horses had to stay behind, but for those events unobtainable by water, the Dowsetts would arrive in the horsebox instead, still with the parrots and the dogs.

Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October 2017 and given 6-12 months to live, Léonie determinedly set out to enjoy one more season on the River, which she did, with as much enthusiasm as ever. She leaves a large gap in our Club and will be much missed by her many friends.

The well attended funeral was held at Gorleston Crematorium on Thursday 18 July.  Afterwards, many friends and family attended the wake hosted by Chris at his home, where guests were lavishly entertained with food and drink and the opportunity was taken to remember Léonie in a manner that she would surely have appreciated.

last edited on:  15/02/2020 at 11:24   by: The Editor