Sweeny, Sedley

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Sweeny, Sedley

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1917-2013

History

Sedley Bell-Irving Sweeny (November 29, 1917 - December 19, 2013) was born in England. He graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada with a commission in the Royal Engineers and went on to serve in World War II with the 8th Army from El Alamein onwards, then in Sicily, Italy and Greece; he was awarded Military Cross for valour at the Garigliano River crossing in Jan.'44.
He married Diana Game in 1941 and they had three daughters: Nicola, Terry and Robin. He retired from the army in 1957, bought a farm in Wales, and for the next thirty years devoted his energies to sustainable land management, self sufficiency and, increasingly, the welfare of marginalized people. With Diana, he managed an orphanage for Tibetan refugee children in Simla, India, on behalf of Save the Children Fund, subsequently founding The Society for Training in Rural Industries and Village Enterprises, through which he provided instruction and practical experience for Tibetan family groups on his farm.
Sedley returned to BC in 1985, divorced and single again. At age 71 he rowed to Cortes from Vancouver, where he met and married his second wife, Trude Albright, in 1989. Sedley was a Self Sufficiency advocate promoting a Cortes wide vision of cooperation and skill sharing. He and Trude were involved in many Cortes community initiatives including an emergency first aid and ambulance service; the Friends of Cortes Association; the Cortes Ecoforestry Society; the Cortes Earmark Book of islander skills; and The Cooperation For Cortes Self Sufficiency. Many of the associated activities happened at Trude's Café. A skilled boat-builder, he converted a fishing boat into a junk-rigged yacht, and he also instructed Cortes youth in boat-building and sailing.
Sedley died at home at the age of 96 and is buried in the Whaletown cemetery.

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