8th June 2020

Obituary: Roy Stenning

Trading standards lost a valued colleague and devoted family man on April 26, 2020.

By Derek Stenning
Roy was always interested in passing on knowledge to others and throughout the 70s he became heavily involved with the setting up of the London Tutors Team

Roy Frederick Stenning (April 9 1926- April 26 2020) was former Head of Consumer Services and Chief Inspector of Weights and Measures Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Born in Bedfont, Surrey in 1926, Roy was the oldest son of Albert and Elsie Stenning. His father was a gardener and his mother a housekeeper. The family moved to Emsworth on the south coast in the mid 1930s, where a lifetime love of the sea began. A brother, Derek, arrived in 1935 and a sister, Dorothy, in 1939.

Roy attended the local school until the age of 14 and started work as an apprentice vehicle mechanic. It was exciting times as the garage where he worked was contracted to look after a number of admiralty launches. On occasion they were caught up in air raids on the fighter base at Thorney Island and the naval dockyard at Portsmouth.

In 1943 Roy was called up into the army and joined the REME as a vehicle mechanic. After initial training he was posted to North Africa and served in various bases in Egypt until being demobbed in January 1948, having reached the rank of Staff Sergeant.

Whilst on leave prior to going abroad he met Eileen, his future wife, and following a courtship mainly conducted by letter they became engaged whilst home on leave in 1946. The couple married in December 1947 and settled in Portchester. Finding employment was difficult and they decided to go back to London, setting up a vehicle repair business.

Roy joined Middlesex County Council in 1949 as a clerk in the Vehicle Licensing Section based at Willesden, and became interested in the work being carried out in the Weights and Measures department. He applied and joined as a Trainee Inspector in 1952.

In those days money was in short supply. Most people used public transport but Roy decided to get a tandem bike, which he used to ride to work and also on holidays. With Eileen on the back they travelled the length and breadth of Britain, often spurred on by the shouts of bystanders that Eileen was not peddling on the back!

From the bike to a motorbike and thence to their first car, a 1935 Morris 8, which together with Derek they toured Europe for three weeks, travelling over 2,000 miles and returning home with change out of the £50 each had put into the kitty. Those were the days.

Roy qualified as an Inspector in 1955 and continued in that role until 1961 when he was seconded to the Board of Trade as a Special Investigations Officer, investigating traders supplying schools and other government establishments.

He moved to Greenwich in 1965 as Public Control Officer and in 1967 took on the added responsibility of Chief Inspector of Weights and Measures for the Borough.

Roy was always interested in passing on knowledge to others and throughout the 70s he became heavily involved with the setting up of the London Tutors Team, providing training to students interested in making Weights and Measures their profession by lecturing  at South Thames College, Wandsworth. At the same time he joined the Ocean Youth Club as a voluntary mate helping youngsters enjoy and understand life at sea.

In 1979 following another reorganisation he became Head of Consumer Services and remained in that position until taking early retirement in 1985.

In the late 1950s, following the birth of his daughter Kay, Roy started looking for a property close to a river or canal, which led to the purchase of a bungalow on Pharaohs Island in the Thames at Shepperton – only approachable using your own boat. Roy was the ‘unofficial’ Weights and Measures Inspector for the Island, having to row the fuel oil delivery pipe across and checking in the deliveries.

Roy’s love of the sea and sailing led him and Derek to purchase their first sailing dinghy, which rapidly led to a yacht capable of sailing further afield. Together they purchased a 35ft sloop and offshore sailing began in earnest. It is never a dull life when sailing and the sea can always be unpredictable – never more so when the brothers were caught in the famous storm of 1979 when sailing from St Malo to Guernsey and had to take shelter in St Helier in Jersey.

Whilst moored on the visitor’s pontoon in horrendous weather conditions, the passenger ferry “Caesarea” was blown across the harbour when attempting to leave and struck their boat, causing serious damage – although thankfully no one was injured. Other types of boats were bought over the years and in between times Roy also sailed with the Ocean Youth Club as a voluntary mate, helping youngsters learn the ropes.

Roy and Eileen liked to travel and enjoyed many holidays abroad and in the UK, never far from the sea or inland waterways. Following his retirement Roy and Derek enjoyed trips to numerous destinations ranging from Brittany to Holland, together with various canal boat holidays. His other passion was sequence dancing and he enjoyed many holidays and short breaks with the various dance clubs that he and Eileen were members of.

He is survived by two daughters, Kay and Lyn, and four grandchildren – Matthew, Louise, Nicola and Rebecca. to whom we send our sincere condolences.

Roy’s funeral was held at Warblington in Hampshire at 11.30am on Thursday June 4.

Donations to enable the purchase of garden furniture for the care home Roy stayed at recently and in Roy’s memory may be sent to Derek Stenning at 4 Chichester Close, Sarisbury Green, Southampton, SO31 6EX.


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