Maritime centre founder calls it a day

Kim, Margaret, Graham, Brian, Andrew and Chantal Ingpen.

Brian Ingpen has officially retired from Simon’s Town’s School’s Lawhill Maritime Centre, which he helped found 25 years ago.

Maritime organisations paid tribute to Mr Ingpen – a maritime teacher, author, journalist, columnist and historian – during a function at Kelvin Grove on Saturday.

After 46 years in education, Mr Ingpen has retired from teaching but will continue talking about all things maritime in his weekly column in the Cape Times.

The South African Training Ship (SATS) General Botha Old Boys’ Association, the General Botha Bursary Fund, the Society of Master Mariners of South Africa, Cape Town Sailors’ Home and the Lawhill Education Trust hosted the function for Mr Ingpen.

The chairman of the General Botha Bursary Fund, Captain Simon Pearson, recalled how he first met Mr Ingpen.

“As a young Bothie boy, I first met Brian, who was working in the Safmarine crewing department, and he duly dispatched me to my first ship that kick-started my career, for which I am immensely thankful for.”

After his friends, family and colleagues had toasted his achievement, an emotional Mr Ingpen said: “It’s one of those cases where when one looks around the room, I see people who have done more than I have.”

He thanked his wife, Margaret, for supporting him throughout his 46 years in education.

“I spent 11 years of those 46 years as a principal,” he said.

Mr Ingpen said he could trace his interest in maritime issues back to a school geography project he did on ships while still in primary school.

Lawhill deputy principal, Lucrisia Harrison, said: “Thank you for the great influence you had on the students, and I, we, will always be appreciative of the effort you put into the school’s ethos. Simon’s Town School has benefited so much from your worldwide knowledge and experience you shared with it.”

Mr Ingpen’s twin sons, Andrew and Graeme, described him as “a dedicated, humble and caring father who always had time for us while also having the best interests of all the children he taught at heart”.