An appreciation of Doris' life by her sons Tony and Philip follows:
Farewell to Doris Osborne (née James)
6.5.1928 – 15.3.2015
Doris Osborne who was born on 6th May 1928 arrived in the canalside village of Stoke Bruerne on board a narrow boat and at her family’s request on Thursday 2nd April 2015 arrangements were made for her depart in the same way.
Doris was the daughter of Jack and Emma James and was born in Reading on board narrow boat ‘Emma’. She was schooled at a convent in Oxford whilst her parents worked boats over a large area. During the Second World War at the age of just 13 she helped the family run the boats Badsey and Balham as her elder brothers had been called up for war service. They often ran from Park Royal in London to Birmingham carrying a variety of loads the most notable of which was Guinness.
Jack and Emma James had come to know Sister Mary Ward in the course of their regular journeys through Stoke Bruerne and following the hard winter of 1947 they decided to purchase one of the canalside cottages owned by Sister Mary. Now the resident of No.3 Canalside Cottages, Jack decided to apply for the vacant position of Lock Keeper for the seven locks that climb up to the centre of the village. He quickly expanded his official duties and began tidying up the area and regularly won a national competition for the best kept lock. He also collected waterways artefacts and this was to become the foundation of the acclaimed museum in Stoke Bruerne.
In 1954 Doris married Reginald Osborne a jeweller and pawnbroker based in Regents Square, Northampton. They had three children, Anthony, Philip and Wendy. Doris lived a long and happy life and was involved in many voluntary roles and an active church goer, latterly at St. Peter’s in the village of Weston Favell. Doris was extremely proud of her heritage on the waterways and her family connection with Stoke Bruerne.
It was to honour and respect her past that she was carried from the southern portal of Blisworth tunnel aboard the narrow boat Sculptor the short distance to the front door of cottage No 3 above top lock. Sculptor was operated by volunteers, David Blagrove MBE, Kathryn Dodington and Rob Westlake with Doris’ sons Anthony and Philip on board. The towpath was lined by members of the family as well as boaters who were moored in the area, all paying their respects to a lady with such strong connections to the waterway network and village of Stoke Bruerne.
Volunteer hours 6 (total 703 to date)