Jill Thwaites Tallowin – Founder and MD of Barnes Brinkcraft

27 January 2023

Obituary Jill Thwaites Tallowin  1944 – 2023

Born in Lowestoft Jan 1944. Died Jan 2023 in Wroxham. The only child of Irene and Douglas

Jill had her green ticket and almost moved to the big apple in 1964. Before meeting and
marrying Brian, the father of her two children Daniel and Matthew, whilst travelling home for a
short visit.

Initial married life saw Jill and Brian living on a rather porous traditional wooden Wherry,
moored at Thorpe Island. Jill placed pot plants under the leaks. A typically efficient use of
her time.

Brian and Jill set up their first boatyard in Thorpe with 1 boat in 1964. The boatshed, made
of scaffolding poles and a tarpaulin reflected their funding levels.
Cash was so tight that Dougie Garwood (their yard foreman) would take a salary one week
and Jill and Brian the next. Their frugality paid off, making it possible for them to buy the
Barnes Boatyard. Today that business, trading as Barnes Brinkcraft and Norfolk Boat Sales,
has over 100 boats.

Jill took over as Managing Director when her first husband Brian died in 1992. Recent years
saw Jill reduce her day-to-day presence at the company, but she remained as a strong source
of wisdom behind the scenes. Her solid advice helped sons Daniel and Matthew continue to
grow the business.

Daniel and Matthew still say that her ability to “run the counter” was legendary. Only her
beady eye would keep any rowdy group of holiday makers in check.

Jill married her second husband Peter Tallowin in 1994. Peter, known as Dada by their
grandchildren Tom, Reuben and Ellie, has been by her side ever since.

Peter supported Jill in her role of MD, Chair of the Magistrates bench, and as the first female
director of Blakes Holidays.

When she sat at her first directors meeting, it was suggested that she pour the tea. Jill
gently nudged the tray over to her next-door neighbour and let that man do the honours.

Family and friends needed a good excuse to miss out on Jill’s Sunday evening roast. No
shrinking violets permitted. The debate could be formidable, but Jill redirected the
conversation when asking: “and what are the price of oranges in China this week?”
All obeyed the hint.

Summer weekends would often see Jill crewing Hazel Funnel in her Norfolk Dinghy. Jill, to
the relief of her children eventually decided that dinghy sailing and new hips were not

Whilst juggling all of this, Jill and a close group of friends hosted regular events to fundraise
for the local NSPCC and the Benjamin Foundation. She took on the role of professional
hustler. Many a “mark” would come away with less money and more raffle tickets than
they expected. But all in a good cause. The events regularly raised thousands of pounds.

Jill recently spent her holidays in her home in the South of France. She described her French
as not quite fluent. It didn’t stop her cracking a joke with the locals and new friends.

The family remember the warmth and fun of an evening spent eating one of Peter’s BBQs.
Enjoying wine from the local Cave a 50m hop skip and jump away. Known by Jill as
Arkwright’s (because it was open all hours).

Whilst fit Jill was a regular attendee of St Mary’s the local church. But couldn’t quite forget
her parents’ Jewish heritage. Regularly quoting “my life already” whilst enjoying an after-
church coffee with her friends Avril and Monte.

She was a thoroughly modern woman and will be greatly missed.

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