Peter Catchpole: From fishing to tourist ambassador for Waveney

People in the Lowestoft area have been mourning successful businessman Peter Catchpole.

Mr Catchpole was a prominent figure in the fishing industry at Lowestoft before acquiring Broadland Holiday Village at Oulton Broad and developing it to become one of the finest holiday parks in East Anglia.

Mr Catchpole, who was 72 when he died, was born in Lowestoft and educated at Orwell Park School near Ipswich and at Stowe, Buck-inghamshire, where he was a talented athlete. On leaving school he went on to serve with the Suffolk Regiment, with which he completed his national service.

His abiding love of the fishing industry emerged early on in life, and as a child he spent as much time as possible playing around in boats with his brother George.

Mr Catchpole joined the Boyd Line Fishing Company at Hull and later became assistant manager at Boston Deep Sea Fisheries. He was quickly promoted to manager of one of the largest fleets of fishing boats in the UK, based at Lowestoft.

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Almost immediately he was forced to deal with the loss of the Boston Pionair with all hands, and the wonderful support he received from the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen generated an enduring admiration for their work.

As a result, Mr Catchpole worked to support the mission and became involved in the mission council.

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As the fishing industry began its slow decline in the 1970s, he saw that the rise of the North Sea oil and gas industry offered opportunities for redundant fishing boats, considered to be ideal safety vessels for the industry, and Boston Putford Offshore Safety Service was born.

While all this development was proceeding rapidly, Mr Catchpole was offered the post of managing director of another fishing company, at the time based in Grimsby: Tom Sleights.

Never standing still, he simultaneously set up an inshore ship and fish sales management company, Ness Point Fisheries, and built up a significant interest in Warbler Fishing, which also participated in oil rig safety standby and oil exploration work.

This led to him being invited to join the Fishmongers Company, and also to him being given the freedom of the City of London.

Much later, these businesses were sold to a large US organisation, and again Mr Catchpole's life changed direction as a result. He acquired Broadland Holiday Village in 1987 and became managing director.

Driven by his usual passion and enthusiasm, the attraction changed beyond recognition, developing into a first-class holiday park and leisure centre.

Asa Morrison, principal service manager for culture, tourism and sport at Waveney District Council, said: 'Peter was an ambassador for the tourism industry in the area.

'Broadland Holiday Village is one of the best holiday parks in the area and this is due to Peter's hard work and dedication in developing his business.'

Mr Catchpole, who was a keen Rotarian, leaves his wife Audrey, three children and four grandchildren.

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