The Late Eric Culpan
Fourth finisher in modern Parish Walk passes away just months before 50th anniversary
Eric Culpan was born in Manchester ninety five years ago last August, and was involved in printing his entire working career, writes Graham Young. After his move to the Island in 1955, he was responsible for passing on his
significant knowledge to many of our current journalists and printers.
He passed away peacefully in the late hours
of Tuesday 17 November, a fighter to the end.
My first privilege of meeting Eric was whilst
walking together on the climb up the Clannagh
Road in the 1960 Parish. I can still distinctly
picture the pattern on the toes of his brown “brogue” shoes. He was still
wearing the grey flannel trousers that he had also worn that working day at the
Isle Of Man Times printshop.
I am not sure after nearly fifty years just
where we parted company, but I guess my slow time to Patrick was ahead of
his. I was surprised to hear later that despite
walking extra miles “Down the north” he finished the full distance without
distress. (24 hours, 20 minutes)
A naive 14 years old learnt that day the
most basic of lessons. That, if you keep walking long enough… you will finish!!
was from that generation of modest gentlemen, who simply did their duty without
complaint. For “Operation Market Garden” Eric, literally, was put on a crash course
as a glider pilot. This meant promotion to sergeant, as few were expected to
survive! The expectation was that their widows would therefore qualify for
Captured at Arnhem,
he survived the mass RAF bombing of Dresden in February 1945 as, fortunately, he was at the railway station, normally the
target of such raids. Revised estimates by the German government indicate that
no fewer than 25,000 civilians perished there over three days of attacks.
I once asked him if the Parish was the
furthest he had walked. He replied that five weeks after the soviets took over
the POW camp in Poland in which
he was a German captor in 1945, he was released, and obliged to walk to Germany!
In 1970, through no fault of
his own, Eric and his wife Freda were involved in a horrific car accident at
Baldromma Crossing, Baldrine. His mother Lotte was tragically killed, and he and
Freda sustained severe injuries which resulted in months of hospitalisation for
them both. Sadly, Eric was left with one leg shorter than the other.
unassuming man, he felt most honoured when asked to be the Parish Walk Guest Starter
whilst nearing ninety years of age. I believe he was the first person to be
granted this accolade. He previously had played a similar role in starting a
T.T.Relay Walk in recognition of his pioneering achievements in race walking.
Eric was essentially a family man, so you
may imagine his delight at grandson Dave Whorrall’s six successful Parish
Eric’s interests included aeroplanes and
cricket. As part of his 90th birthday celebrations he watched England play the
West Indies at Old Trafford with grandson Steven Whorrall.
May I presume on behalf of the athletic
fraternity to express very sincere condolences to all his family and friends.
He leaves much loved daughters Jackie and Judy, five Grandchildren and eight Great
The funeral takes place on Thursday 26
November at 11:00 at Kirk Braddan.
Donations may be made to The Parkinson’s
Disease Society, if wished. Eric’s late wife Freda had been a sufferer.