Devon & Exeter Branch’s annual Black Tie Dinner with a talk autobiographical talk from Billy “Scratch” Hitchen.
At the end of the Easter holidays in 1963, Billy ‘Scratch’ Hitchen, instead of returning to school in Salcombe, having already been expelled by his mother, who was the head of East Portlemouth School, chose to run away to sea: he was just 14. Before the age of 19, he had sailed round the world 5 times. From Cape Horn to the Indian and Pacific Oceans; from the southerly tip of New Zealand to the North Atlantic, from oil drilling in Argentina to pipeline construction in West Africa, Scratch’s early life was one of challenge and freedom.
In 1973, Scratch returned to Salcombe and spent the next three decades commercial fishing the coasts of the UK and other marine ventures.
Scratch will share some of his remarkable story; of his rise from illiterate and innumerate cabin boy to skipper of the tug to steer the last of the great Cunard liners into the heart of Manhattan; from competitive sailor to commercial fisherman and proprietor of a marina.
Application for places at speakers’ events should be made in writing to the Dining Secretary, Mr. Philip Maunder, Pennies, 46 Pound Lane, Topsham EX30NA with a separate cheque for each event, made payable to ‘ESU Devon and Exeter’. Cheques will not be presented for payment until the day after the event.