BEMBRIDGE resident and former parish council chairman, John Board, has died at 86 after contracting coronavirus.

Mr Board grew up in Nottingham and trained as an officer in the Merchant Navy.

In 1950 he made midshipman Royal Navy reserve, and in 1951 made senior cadet captain 'Hold Division'.

In 1951 he joined Royal Mail Lines as an apprentice, trading to the West Indies, South America and North America.

By 1954 he had obtained his second mate certificate and joined Cunard.

He became first position officer on RMS Britannic, the last White Star liner, then sub lieutenant in the Royal Navy Reserve.

In 1955 he joined the New Zealand volunteer reserves as lieutenant and returned to England in 1960 to stay with his parents, who were managing East Dene in Bonchurch.

It was here he met Heather, and the couple married in 1964.

They had a daughter Nikki.

Mr Board worked at Cadbury cakes for two years and then joined Plessey and Britten Norman.

In 1969 he joined Shell Tankers and obtained his Masters Certificate, having served in the Vietnam War, taking diesel, butane and propane to Saigon from Singapore on a regular basis.

The family then moved to Bembridge, and Mr Board worked for Maersk in the North Sea.

In 1978 he joined Trinity House, and joined Wightlink in 1988 and became a master, retiring in 1998.

Mr Board was a talented artist and enjoyed carpentry, his train set, model making, classical music, wine making — and gin and whisky production for personal and close friends.

He was very involved with Bembridge over many decades and enjoyed his involvement with Bembridge Little Theatre Club, Bembridge Heritage Society and Forelands Middle School.

As a parish councillor, and parish chairman, he was involved in purchasing the village hall.

He was chairman and trustee of Bembridge Youth and Community Centre for a while and was active in fundraising to build an extension.

He set up Bembridge Village Partnership and he designed and made the village shield logo.

His wife died in 2016. He is survived by his daughter Nikki, son-in-law Chris, and grandson Matt and his wife Elly.