The sudden passing of Phil Green has shocked many in our industry.
Phil had a great number of friends in the toy sector, who will undoubtedly have many fond memories of the former trading manager for toys at Woolworths.
Among those who had the pleasure of knowing Phil was Flair’s Peter Brown – a fellow Fence Club member. He has kindly shared one of his own stories in Phil’s memory.
Now, many people will remember Phil for his golfing prowess, but as Peter found out, he was also a keen sailor…
“Like many people, the news of the sudden passing of Phil Green came as a real shock, for he was always so full of life.
My first ‘social’ contact with Phil was when, together with other like-minded people, we cycled 100 miles around Manchester to raise money for charity. When eventually we finished, I couldn’t walk, but Phil was still full of energy and my impression of him was that here was someone strong and fit, with a great sense of humour. It was clear to me that Phil was a tough, good-humoured individual.
Thereafter, Phil was less involved with toys as his career took a slightly different direction. So I was very surprised when about two or three years ago I got a phone call from him asking me if I could help navigate his newly acquired boat down the East Coast.
I was very happy to do this, although I suspected Phil had more confidence in my abilities than I had myself! Still, it was a new boat so I assumed it would be kitted out with a full suite of helpful navigation equipment and, rather like a new car, it would at least have a chart plotter.
The plan was for me to take a train to Lowestoft where Phil would meet me and drive us to Brundall on the Norfolk Broads where his new boat was moored.
On the agreed date, we met and Phil was driving a magnificent Mercedes – originally owned by the wife of one of its racing drivers with every conceivable extra added!
Phil’s new boat was a Dutch steel built boat with a single engine, ideal for sailing in sheltered Dutch and French waters but not so ideal perhaps for the North Sea. And, because it was designed as an inland waters boat, to my horror I discovered the boat had no navigation equipment at all apart from a compass!
By luck, I had my Ipad with me, containing charts of the East Coast. But it could not position the boat on the chart, so there was no way of telling exactly where we were. I knew that to get to sea we had to head south and our original plan was to go via the locks at Lowerstoft, but these were not operating.
Instead we had to leave the Broads via Great Yarmouth which meant waiting on Breydon Waters for a bridge to open. While waiting here, we drifted backwards and bumped into a steel channel marker! Phil was remarkably relaxed about this which gave me some insight into his character.
Eventually, we left the smooth waters of the Broads and motored into the bumpier North Sea. We were sitting in garden chairs (that I assume Phil got from his Wilkinson’s days) on the upper deck of the boat and, although we were doing only about five or six knots, every time we hit a large wave the chairs edged dangerously towards the edge! Displaying the practical side of his nature Phil found some rope to tie down the chairs and prevent disaster!
We chugged our way down the east coast, past the daunting nuclear power station at Sizewell, and rounding the corner at Orfordness. At this point, my chart indicated ‘danger shallow water’, which is not a good place to be, so we headed further out to sea and safely into deeper water.
All the time we headed south, we talked about toys, the Fence Club, sound investments and retirement. I was amazed that Phil had so many things mapped out for the future and the first was to get his new boat to France.
We had been travelling most of the day when Phil navigated the final leg into Harwich and across to Shotley Marina where we moored and polished off the pies and beer that Rosemarie had kindly bought us.
Phil drove me home and I was left with the impression of a very busy and kind individual who had many things still to accomplish both in his impressive business life and happy family life.
Like everyone who knew him I was truly shocked to hear of his passing but felt that my life was richer and happier for having spent just that one eventful day with him.”