Back to news archive
Your stories - Don Goode
Last year we celebrated Lord Nelson’s 25th anniversary – this month we celebrate Don Goode’s 80th birthday. Don has sailed with the JST every year since Lord Nelson’s launch - he has not missed a single year. He has sailed with the JST so many times that when he goes onboard he says it is like going home…and someone always says 'Hello Don, how nice to see you’.
26 years ago, Don was in Cherbourg and curious to see why crowds of people were running to the dock; he went on over and saw Lord Nelson coming in and said to himself 'Oh gosh look at that’- he had heard about her but never seen her real before. Someone threw him a mooring line and the rest, as they say, is history. He asked if he could come onboard, and how he could apply to go sailing, and has been back every year since.
Don wanted to share with us some of his favourite JST memories…standing on the beach in Iona at midday listening to opera sung by a tenor who was a voyage crew…sailing off the jetty at Campbeltown with really good team work and lovely just sailing off…calling up a submarine while on harbour watch after an RN Captain came aboard who had just missed the ferry out to his submarine… a Colonel’s wife on a voyage who did not want to climb the mast but when she eventually made it to the first platform, she cried for joy to a round of applause and then said she would never again allow her husband to demand tea on the table at 5pm…seeing New Year in on board and being given 8 bells for being the oldest member of the crew, while the youngest member struck the bells and fireworks went off…
Don says that even though he has been sailing so many times he still discovers another new bit of string and still has to remind himself what all the 168 ropes do that come down to the deck. He has sailed round just about all of the UK coast, apart from the top bit. He has even sailed with a total of 9 captains: Mark Kemmis-Betty, Hugh Munro, John Fisher, Barbara Campbell, Claire Cupples, Dave Hood, John Etheridge, Simon Catterall and Neil Duncan. He also helped to build Tenacious, including sponsoring a plank.
What draws Don back year after year is his love of teaching and passing on what he has learned to others. He doesn’t believe he teaches people to sail – he just teaches people what he knows about sailing.
For himself he feels JST has given him an understanding of disabled people. As a child he would have walked the other way or crossed the road, but he feels strongly that JST teaches people not to do this. The experience teaches able-bodied people how to ask disabled people if they want help, not just assume that they do want help. He believes the sailing with JST opens people out and changes the way they think. And fun should always be involved – laughter is a very important part.
Don is a traditionalist. He is keen that an ensign should be dipped to a naval ship in acknowledgement of its power, and to hoist the ensign at dawn and take it down at dusk. He loves polishing the ship’s bell and at Happy Hour, he always volunteers to clean the heads, taking the view that as a watchleader, this gives you a few minutes to yourself to think and reflect.
Don was born and raised in Leicester, then moved to Leeds for most of his life, and his work was in printed textiles. He now lives in Morecambe doing voluntary work for the RNLI, bird watching, going to the gym and riding his bike and rereading Shakespeare!
A very caring man with a great sense of humour, he is blessed with a son, three daughters, five grandsons and four granddaughters. Don has done several talks about JST, so helping to spread the word and change more lives and get donations.
Don’s message that he would like to send to everyone is if you haven’t sailed with JST then go and do it and if you have done it once then go and do it again!
Don will be 80 on 21st February – Happy Birthday Don from all at JST!