Obituary: Freddie Fuller

John Frederick Fuller, merchant naval officer and instructor: born Sunderland 8 December 1911; Warden, Outward Bound School, Aberdyfi 1945-70; married (one daughter); died Tywyn 26 February 1993.

FREDDIE FULLER was a key figure in shaping the Outward Bound Trust, both in the UK and overseas.

Born in Sunderland, Freddie Fuller went to sea at 14. He gained his master's ticket working for Alfred Holt & Company, sailing out of Liverpool. In August 1942 his ship, MV Medon, was torpedoed in the South Atlantic, and for the next five weeks he was responsible for a lifeboat crew of 16, and survived through a further torpedo attack and two rescues. He was appointed MBE for his courage and leadership in preserving the lives of each of his men.

One year later Fuller was seconded by Alfred Holt to work as an instructor at the fledgling Outward Bound Sea School at Aberdyfi. The original purpose of what was to become the international Outward Bound movement was to help young merchant seamen survive wartime torpedo attacks in the icy waters of the Atlantic. No person was better qualified to fulfil this role. Fuller was a living example of the practicality of such training, and came to embody the whole spirit of the Outward Bound organisation, espousing the importance of teamwork and personal development for increased confidence and commitment.

For the next quarter-century, Fuller's influence on thousands of young people throughout the UK and many other parts of the world was directly attributable to his vision and inspiration. His gifts were prodigious: he constantly strove - and strove successfully - to find new ways and new strategies to realise true potential; he managed always to get the best out of people.

Across the Atlantic he made a significant contribution to the transplantation of Outward Bound to the US and was subsequently asked by President John F. Kennedy to assist in creating the Peace Corps in the United States. While tailoring the first training courses for the Corps in Puerto Rico, Fuller saw the success and enthusiasm with which volunteers tackled the challenges of an urban environment.

This idea was brought back across the Atlantic to become City Challenge, where Outward Bound tasks just as demanding as those posed by mountains and the sea were set in the inner cities. Today, another quarter-century later, City Challenge still thrives in the UK and has spread to northern Europe and back to the US with Outward Bound Education Centres established in both New York and Boston.

Fuller officially retired from the Outward Bound organisation in 1970, but soon after was asked by the Home Office to organise and run a reception camp for Asian refugees fleeing Uganda. Once again he was successful in enabling people to face the challenges of a new environment.

Subsequently, in his mid-sixties, he became superintendent of the Tywyn Swimming Baths and brought his passion and expertise for water confidence and survival swimming to a whole new generation of young people.

Within the last few years he was honoured on both sides of the Atlantic for his contributions to Outward Bound International. The Board of Trustees of Outward Bound USA presented him with their Kurt Hahn Outward Bound Award, and his 80th year coincided with the celebration of Outward Bound's 50th anniversary International Conference in Aberdyfi where Fuller's great influence on the world-wide organisation was recognised and feted.

Throughout his life he found time for significant volunteer work with a number of national and local organisations and, as a committed Christian, served as a lay preacher for 25 years and as a member of the governing body of the Church of Wales. All who knew him must still be empowered by his enthusiasm.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence