Book tells of a life of sea, fish and ships

Alf Pickup (67) from Hayling Island with his book 'Fish and Ships'  Picture: Malcolm Wells (120327-8031)
Alf Pickup (67) from Hayling Island with his book 'Fish and Ships' Picture: Malcolm Wells (120327-8031)

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A LIFE spent on the ocean waves and serving fish and chips has been chronicled in an aptly named book – Fish and Ships.

Retired Chief Petty Officer, Alfred Pickup has written his autobiography to raise money for an eyesight charity.

The 67-year-old is well known to many people as the owner of Churchills fish and chip shop, in London Road, North End, which he owned for more than 20 years.

The shop closed in 2008 and in its time won national and regional awards.

But before that he spent 25 years in the Royal Navy and has put his experiences in the Middle East, Far East and Africa, as well as family life, in the book.

Mr Pickup, of St Mary’s Road, Hayling Island, said: ‘I was born in Moosburg, Austria, to a Yugoslavian mother and German father who was on the wrong side at that time.

‘He died before I was born and I came to England with my mother, Joanna, in 1948.

‘She married Leslie Pickup who adopted me and we lived in Scarborough.

‘I joined the navy at 16 in the days when you joined up to see the world.

‘I’ve got very fond memories of that exciting time.

‘One of the best times was in the navy boxing team and I had a string of knockout bouts.

A fight with a local amateur champ ended when I knocked him out with my first punch in the first round.’

Mr Pickup saw action in Malaysia and Borneo.

After retiring he bought Churchills and his wife Hermione and two daughters lived above it.

People would come far and wide.

Mr Pickup said: ‘We won our first fish and chip shop of the year award in 1989 and won regional awards after that.

‘They must have been good fish and ships, I certainly ate enough of them.’

Mrs Pickup died after a short illness last year and Mr Pickup now devotes himself to volunteering.

His son-in-law is Ryder Cup golfer Steve Richardson and his daughters and grandchildren live close by.

The book is available at the Historic Dockyard book shop, Portsmouth Library and Hayling Island Bookshop for £9.95. All profits go to the charity Gift of Sight.