MCS was informed by OW Robin Winstone that Duncan passed away on 11 November 2013. Robin provided us with the following obituary:
Duncan MB Thomas died in Nettlebed on Remembrance Day 2013. He was 75 and had fought cancer for two years.
Duncan’s family moved from Wales to Cholsey in the early fifties. His father managed the Labour Exchange in Reading; and Duncan began the onerous daily pilgrimage to school by train and bus. At school he developed into a more-than-useful athlete, a brave tackler in the 1st XV of ’57 and gave his all for Walker House in the Callender, that torturous 5¾-mile run in the mud over Harcourt Hill!
His first love was always rowing which was, at that time, experiencing amazing popularity. In 1957 he was elected Captain of Boats with a 1st VIII which achieved success at regattas, and even more conquests in social circles!
Duncan served in the RAF for three years as a radar operator before qualifying as an electrical engineer at Portsmouth Polytechnic where he became President of the Students’ Union. He joined the BBC as a project engineer and then manager where he was involved as the TV studios changed from black and white to colour transmissions.
Like so many OWs of his era, Duncan became very active in community projects before and after his early retirement. Those closest to him mentioned that he was an ‘avid planner’. He served tirelessly on the parish council, was a church warden at St James, Bix, where he spearheaded a campaign which raised £250,000 for the new roof, and was a vice president of Henley Rowing Club where he coached boys and girls, some of whom reached international standard. In his ‘spare time’ he raised money for various organisations by taking illuminating tours of Oxford and was a keen rambler in the Chilterns.
Duncan was married to Cherry (née Heal) for 46 years and also leaves behind a son and two daughters and six grandchildren whom he adored.
The 250 people at a Service of Thanksgiving for his life – young and old, standing room only – bore testimony to Duncan’s selfless dedication to his family and enthusiasm for his very existence.