For decades, children (and adults) have walked along Bideford Quay when the crane loaded a ship and asked their parents “can we watch the crane,” and probably some of you did the same.

And so it was a sad day when Mike ‘the crane operator’ Pryer died and the crane was adorned with flowers for weeks to remember him.

He had been the crane operator for the Torridge District Council for many years and was always friendly and helpful with a happy smile. He loved his job and not only loaded ships when they came in, but kept the wharf clean and tidy. He helped Torridge’s maintenance team clean the rudder steps and worked with the regatta organizers as well as many other users of the wharf, and will be greatly missed by everyone.

Bideford City Council, at the request of Councilor Dermot McGeough, was delighted to pay his own tribute to Mike with a plaque on one of the benches in front of where the crane is normally parked.

Councilor McGeough recalled Mike as “a real gentleman and always ready to help – our humble plaque is our way of paying tribute to Mike”.

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Mayor Peter Christie added, “Mike’s death is a very sad loss for the whole of Bideford and I think that was reflected in the number of flowers that were placed on the crane – it was part of the town’s decor.”