Morris Roff, one of the enthusiasts who made the re-opening of the Kennet & Avon Canal possible, died suddenly at his home in Pewsey on 19 September 2010 at the age of 79.
His funeral took place at St John the Baptist Church in Pewsey on 1 October 2010 and he was buried at Christ Church, East Kennet.
Morris was born at Poulton Farm Cottages in Marlborough and he went to the local St Peter’s School. Morris was profoundly deaf from birth and so his education was continued at the Royal Deaf School in Topsham near Exeter.
He was apprenticed as a cabinet maker and although he did not make his living with those skills, instead working for Pelham Puppets and Marlborough Borough Council, he did put them to good use — and one of his many projects was to completely restore a wooden cruiser in the garden of his home in Marlborough.
|Morris with his sons, Aubrey, left and James beside the cabin cruiser he refurbished in the garden of his home in Marlborough|
Morris was one of the early members of Pewsey Wharf Boat Club who battled through the shallow waters and the duck-weed on the Long Pound between Wootton Rivers and Devizes and showed that navigation was possible.
Morris and his late wife, Jackie, who died in 1999, became the unpaid wardens of Pewsey Wharf in 1979 and they lived in the cottage on the wharf with their two sons, James and Aubrey until 1998.
|Morris Roff beside the wharf at Pewsey|
Morris always kept his love of the canal and right up until his death he would regularly be seen on Pewsey Wharf where, despite his hearing and speech problems, he would chat to his many friends about the history of the canal and Wilton Windmill where his grandparents had been the last millers when it was working commercially.
Morris loved the canal and he was an enthusiastic volunteer for the K&A Canal Trust crewing on the K&A Canal Trust trip boat Charlotte Dundas — and later as a skipper on the tiny trip-boat Dragonfly when it was relocated to Pewsey from Bath.
Morris is survived by his two sons, James, 44 and Aubrey 42 and five grandchildren.