Jeff Tearle – A big sigh as we were told at the annual dinner this year that Jeff has decided to ‘hang up his caving boots’. For many of us, Jeff has been part of Gagendor ‘forever’!
Asking around our ‘more senior’ members, I could find nobody who could put a date on it, but Ray worked out that he had been a member for at least 33 years – and Jeff was part of the Gagendor scene then. Memories came flooding back of a fit, wiry man who climbed ‘like a spider’ running along the ledges of OFD, long before wire traverse lines were in place; of a talented artist and of a musician who could turn his hand to playing literally anything as a percussion instrument!
It was as a teacher of Art at an Oxfordshire middle school that I first encountered him – an enthusiastic leader who loved to take his charges into PYO and Ogof Y Ci – Centre staff dispensed with! As I met up with him year upon year, at the annual dinner/caving weekend, I was always in awe that Jeff never seemed to age! The ‘oldies’ trips into OFD were always fun, social events – around the clay series, up to northern lights, into the steam-way, etc. Trips may have got a little more mellow in recent years, but Jeff was always up for the challenge.
Jeff’s last ‘club dinner trip’ was into Ogof Pasg/Foel Fawr with Ray and Dave – a memorable trip, not so much for the caving, but for the lengthy hunt in the mist for the entrance and then a 2 mile search in the fog for their vehicle when they emerged at the end of the trip. Thinking about it - that might have been enough to get me hanging up my caving boots too! Stay in touch Jeff.
Written by Juliet Parker Smith
Jeff was made Gagendor’s first Honorary member of the club and also presented with a custom designed T Shirt for his loyalty and commitment to the club over the years. You now know the story behind the ‘Selfie’.