Local Community News


The family of a well-respected explorer are on the hunt for a family bible which, having been passed down through the generations, has now disappeared.

Back in December, Isle of Wight resident Kathy Bechervaise died aged 91 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. Kathy and her late husband Eric came to live on the Island in Binstead some 35 years ago after working in Zimbabwe (formerly Southern Rhodesia) for over 30 years.

Following Kathy’s death, Eric’s family have been anxious to recover the old Bechervaise family bible that has been handed down through many generations. It contains records of births, marriages and deaths for this old Huguenot family dating back hundreds of years.

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Sadly, as many relatives of Alzheimer sufferers will acknowledge, possessions are often disposed of, given away or just lost because the sufferer ceases to understand the significance of the objects or loses an emotional link with old family items. This was the case with Kathy and the Bechervaise bible that was once treasured is now lost.

Some people may recognise the Bechervaise name from Eric’s cousin John Mayston Bechervaise OAM MBE (1910-1998), a famous Australian writer, photographer, artist, historian and polar explorer. A mountain ridge and a river in Tasmania have been named after him but he is most notable for his work and achievements in Antarctica for which he was awarded the Polar Medal.

Sue Forward, a niece of Eric’s, is hoping that someone on the Island has seen or knows the whereabouts of this old book, which is said to be quite ornate. Unfortunately no photographs exist of the bible but the Bechervaise name is unusual and may jolt a reader’s memory.

The family would love to be able to complete the entries in the bible to date and pass it down to younger members.

Anyone who can assist in locating the bible can contact the Editor on [email protected] or by leaving a comment below.

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