Local Services

Search Our Site

Article Index


Ian Dear and The Ian Dear Memorial Fund.

Mike Wilson Hon Treasurer

Ian Dear was a BEC Member who caved with the club in the 1950s along with his friend Geoff Edbrooke, his nickname was “Woomph!!!” Apparently when a ship is going alongside it has to give 3 loud whoomphs on its klaxon, and that’s how he used to announce his arrival on his motorcycle. Great fun!!

According to Brian Prewer he was an active digger in the true BEC tradition spending a great deal of time in Hunters Hole digging [Dears Ideal and Rover pot]. In October 1956 he did a Derbyshire trip to Middleton Dale along with several other BEC Members, during this trip Jack Whaddon managed to drop a 20lb piece of Galena on his foot much to his annoyance I expect!! He also served on the committee as tacklemaster and greatly helped the club financially during his membership.

Geoff’s Wife Valerie remembers him well, as they were all great friends who had many good times together she describes him as being a very shy, clever, quirky oddball [nothing has changed in the BEC membership for the past 50 years or so it seems!!!!!!!!.] He lived in an Admiralty Hostel, The Priory on Bathwick hill with his friend Geoff, where they stored their caving kit in the loft. Eventually he managed to get a small Flat in 1951 and invited the then married Edbrokes to supper.

Quote, ‘the supper consisted of sitting on a settee while he fed his friends his favourite pickles by spoon from jam jars’. Times were hard in those days but you could have hilarious fun!!!!!!!! I am sure that some of our older members have a few stories to tell.

At the moment I am not sure what triggered Ian Dear’s decision to set up the IDMF but it may have been the BEC trip to Switzerland in 1948, or perhaps his trip with Brian Prewer to France in 1950.

Brian was a young lad then and must have found it hard to finance the trip!! [I can remember Trebor telling me how he hitched all the way to the Vercors one year because finances were tight!!] We used to walk from Knowle along the railway track to Chelwood Bridge and then by road to the Mendips on a Friday night to go caving in Burrington in the early 60s,sometimes we were lucky and got a lift partway but usually we had to walk. The Burrington Café was just a shack in those days with condensation running down the windows!!

The fund is basically a trust fund set up to help young cavers to go to the Continent, there are no restrictions, as long as you are a full member of the club, still at College or not in permanent employment and under 21 years old, you are entitled to apply for financial assistance to top up your travel expenses. This would normally be part of a BEC party organised by older members. This used to be kept down to a single Grant per year  as the fund does not accumulate a great deal of Bank interest per annum.

The Club does not ask for any repayment but does ask that you write a good report of the trip for the belfry bulletin!! It goes without saying that when the recipient is filthy rich it would be nice if they add to the fund financially to help others. Originally the maximum donation was £10.00. Obviously times have changed since then, but bear in mind £10.00 was a sizeable sum in those days.

Lately the fund has benefited greatly by elder members of the club .The late Joan Bennet recently left a donation to the IDMF and strangely another donation arrived [anonymously] within the last few weeks. These will be of huge benefit to the fund and will ensure that it will carry on for many years yet.

The original concept was to only use the interest that the fund generated, therefore keeping the capital in perpetuity. This is not possible in this modern age, where Building Societies only give a nominal interest rate for Club Accounts. If anyone has a suggestion how we can get around this problem I will be happy to listen to them!!!

At this moment in time the club committee takes a vote on the fund, re topping it up whenever necessary, this has been the case for many years now.

I hope this information is useful to the newer members, and of interest to the elders of the club, also that the fund will carry on in the spirit of friendship and camaraderie that has carried it so far. Sadly Ian Dear died in June/July 1964 his obituary is published in the BB 1967 July 64.

The IDMF accounts are open to inspection at any time and are published at the AGM. We [the committee] would welcome any comments on the IDMF from the membership including any notes on how the IDMF helped them!! 

I would like to thank all the BEC members who have helped me with various snippets from the past history of the Club.