Vivian Christopher Joseph Yorke was born in 1896 in Norfolk and, after spending his early years in India with his parents, came to Ventnor in 1907. In April 1909, at the age of just 13, along with Mr Alfred Du Feu, he founded the first ever group of scouts in Ventnor, named ‘Bull Patrol’. Mr Du Feu’s tobacconist shop was on the corner of Church Street and Pier Street – under the clock – now an estate agent. This patrol later became the 3rd Ventnor and three years later ‘Viv’ became its first Scoutmaster.
Viv was a voluntary lifesaver on Ventnor beach and in 1938 was working as a longshoreman for Spencer’s when the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, who was staying in Ventnor, took a boat trip in Jack Spencer’s launch. When the launch came back to shore, Viv was photographed helping the Emperor down the gangplank.
During the second war, Viv did lookout work and was a member of the Life Saving Association crew and, with others, picked up German and British airmen who had ditched in the Channel. After the war, on Armistice Day, he always went afloat to lay poppy wreaths on the sea. For all his good work around the town he was the recipient of a special Rotary Club presentation in 1981.
He was a member of Ventnor Golf Club and, in 1948, was made a life member in recognition of his services. Vivian lived to the ripe old age of 98.
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