A world-renowned 89-year-old sailor from Norfolk gets to see her beloved boat one more time thanks to the staff at Heathcote Care Home & National Maritime Museum.
Staff at Heathcote Care Home put in the extra effort to grant one resident’s Christmas wish.
Margaret Dye, who sailed thousands of miles with her late husband Frank, now lives in Heathcote Care Home due to limited mobility. She expressed to Heathcote’s manager Sylvie that the only thing she wished to do was see her boat one more time.
Since 2002 ‘Wanderer’ has been an integral part of the National Maritime Museum’s exhibit in Falmouth, Cornwall. A thirteen hour train journey which staff and Margaret did not believe she could manage currently.
However, on December 4th, the staff decided to use technology to their advantage to reunite Margaret with her beloved sailing boat. Staff arranged with the National Maritime Museum to surprise Margaret with a video call, with boat collection officer Andy touring her around the exhibits and especially ‘Wanderer’.
Margaret told us what it was like to see the boat on which she had so many amazing adventures:
“It’s made my day, my week, my month! It’s just the best feeling to see her again, she’s such a special precious little boat and I love her dearly.
“The museum are so kind towards me, putting in all that effort for my sake. I feel such a sense of happiness that she’s safe and loved”.
“I can't explain how grateful I am to the staff here at my home. They’ve made me so happy – thank you”.
89-year-old Margaret Dye and her husband Frank Dye sailed around the globe in a twenty-foot wayfarer dinghy named ‘Wanderer’ for most of their married life.
They’re well known for the book they wrote together: Ocean Crossing Wayfarer: To Iceland and Norway in a 16ft Open Dinghy.
‘Wanderer’ was donated by Frank and Margaret to the Greenwich Museum in the 1980s before being moved to her forever home on the Cornish coast in 2002. Now, she features prominently in the main gallery, hanging from the ceiling in all her glory.
Frank and Margaret both grew up in the Norfolk town of Watton, where they met and fell in love at the Earl’s Court Boat Show in 1963.
Margaret speaks fondly about meeting Frank:
“We were both village folk, and we knew each other very well very quickly. I’m very honoured to have spent so much time with him – he was such a kind and nurturing man.”
The following year Frank and Margaret got married, sailing from the UK to the Hebridean Island of St Kilda. Margaret has a painting of their honeymoon destination on her bedroom wall in Heathcote Care Home, but she says it was not an easy journey.
Margaret and Frank are renowned for the treacherous journeys that they undertook in their dainty boat, which is a feat that a lot of people didn’t believe could be done in such a vessel. Margaret says having a small boat and herself on the crew could have been seen as a detriment to Frank:
“I’m very grateful that I got to go on so many adventures with him because I wasn’t the best sailor, I wasn’t strong or heavy enough for some of the jobs and sometimes it would be really scary with the waves battering our little ‘Wanderer’.
“One particularly hard trip was on our way to our honeymoon, the waves were huge and there was this moment where I genuinely thought we weren’t getting to land safely.
“But he’d just lay his hand on mine and not say anything. He had this wonderful way of making me feel calm”.
Frank sadly passed away in 2010, before Margaret moved into Heathcote six years ago.
Staff at Black Swan Care Home are trying to find a way of tackling Margaret’s mobility issues in the hopes of getting her down to Cornwall again to see ‘Wanderer’ in person.
This is an idea that is currently being explored, but if there is a way to make it happen Black Swan Care Group will put in every effort to help Margaret achieve her dream.