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Posthumous book launch for King's Lynn author



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A fascinating account of the life of a boat builder in Lynn has been turned into a book with a posthumous book launch on Saturday, June 11.

The launch took place at True's Yard Fisherfolk Museum of this brand new publication written by Victor John Pratt called My Life and Work as Boat Builder in King's Lynn.

Mr Pratt's wife Betty acted as a scribe as he recounted his life story, until her death in June 2019.

New Mast for the Lady of Lynn’(1974) Victor John Pratt working on the boat’s new mast. Image courtesy of Chris Ward (57350945)
New Mast for the Lady of Lynn’(1974) Victor John Pratt working on the boat’s new mast. Image courtesy of Chris Ward (57350945)

Due to the pandemic and Mr Pratt's death in April 2020 the launch of the book was delayed but finally it occurred in front of a respectful audience of trustees and Mt Pratt's children.

Mr Pratt's story starts in 1945, at just fourteen years old, when he joined the Worfolk Boat builders as a bound apprentice.

His apprenticeship lasted seven years and Vic entered the boat building business on his own account.

Book launch at True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum L to R Brian Chase: trustee, Alison Gifford, Mr Pratt, John Harris: trustee and Dr Paul Richards: Trust Chairman. (57350948)
Book launch at True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum L to R Brian Chase: trustee, Alison Gifford, Mr Pratt, John Harris: trustee and Dr Paul Richards: Trust Chairman. (57350948)

The book is full of anecdotes about his working life including an incident where a hole was accidentally bored into hull of a boat.

As water poured into the vessel Vic was instructed by Gerald Worfolk, to 'step down here boy and put your finger under the engine bed and block the hole.

'I did so and to my amazement this temporarily stopped the leak until the boat was towed up to the quayside on to a dry mooring for safety.'

Victor John Pratt and Paul Lake greet HRH Prince Philip in 2010 (57350887)
Victor John Pratt and Paul Lake greet HRH Prince Philip in 2010 (57350887)

He would continue working on boats until he was 84 when ill health meant he had to retire but that did not mean he slowed down.

For twenty years he was a valued trustee at True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum.

When Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Philip opened the St Ann’s Street extension to True’s Yard in 2010, Mr Pratt was there to tell the Prince about all the fishing smack activity which he had helped restore.

Victor John Pratt and Paul Lake greet HRH Prince Philip in 2010 (57350942)
Victor John Pratt and Paul Lake greet HRH Prince Philip in 2010 (57350942)

At the launch the Trust Chairman, Dr Paul Richards recalled a friendly argument that broke out between HRH Prince Philip and trustee George Solly who had proudly told the Duke of York that he has served aboard the vessel as cabin boy.

To celebrate the launch, the Museum put on a craft activity where children could follow in Vic’s footsteps and make their own boat to take home with them. (57350951)
To celebrate the launch, the Museum put on a craft activity where children could follow in Vic’s footsteps and make their own boat to take home with them. (57350951)

Prince Philip responded he could not have been a cabin boy because the boat did not have a cabin.

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