TRIBUTES have been paid to an “honest, hard-working and trustworthy” Sway heating
engineer whose love of dogs led to winning an accolade at Crufts.
Michael Rickman (87) was born and bred in Sway and retained a close affinity with the local area all his life. One of his biggest pleasures was walking his beloved Bernese mountain dogs in the New Forest.
Having grown up with dogs, Michael first owned corgis but later became an admirer of the Burmese breed. He went on to own several, entering them in dog shows and winning trophies.
One year he went to the Crufts competition and was chuffed to take a second place merit award in a junior category.
His friend Suzanne Thurgood said: “He was a really good man. Honest, trustworthy and hard-working, he’ll be greatly missed.”
Born in Sway to parents William, a gardener, and Enid, who worked at Wellworthy’s, he loved football as a young man and due to his fast speed was jokingly nicknamed Treacle.
“There was a running joke at the time that they’d have to put treacle on his boots to slow him down,” son Martin explained.
Michael attended the village school and was a member of the church’s choir, before he went off to his National Service at Blandford Camp as a driving instructor for tank carriers and lorries.
After he was demobbed he became an apprentice for Kemp’s at Sway, undertaking his training in plumbing and heating before moving to Ingrem Heating Ltd.
There he progressed all the way up the ladder from apprentice to director of the firm before he retired decades later, latterly working alongside his business partner Ken Briggs.
He married Margaret Coombs at St Luke’s Church in Sway, and the pair had two children, Martin and Jonathan.
“Dad was so helpful to me, helping with all the DIY and all sorts of things,” said Jonathan who continued to live with his dad for many decades. “He was a really good man.”
Michael counted football and tennis among his hobbies, and was a season ticket holder for Saints – sitting close to his sons on match days. He was also a keen cross-country runner.
He loved going on driving holidays in his Volvo around the corners of the British Isles, and was a member of the New Milton Round Table and the 41 Club.
As reported in the A&T, Michael died after going missing off Hurst Spit on 4th November.
The opening of his inquest heard a post-mortem examination determined his death was caused by shock and water immersion, as well as hypertension and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The full hearing is due to take place in July 2021.