Mr James Charles Mackinnon Eldridge
HIGHLY respected IW-born solicitor James Charles Mackinnon Eldridge died at St Mary’s Hospital, Newport, last Thursday, aged 88.
Born in Newport on April 25, 1924, he was educated at Little Appley Preparatory School before his switch to a similar school in Sherborne, Dorset, and gained a scholarship to Sherborne School.
He left the town in July 1940 and was articled into the family firm of solicitors, James Eldridge and Sons, which was founded on the Island in 1832.
One of Mr Eldridge’s first cases was taking notes during a murder trial at Newport.
He joined the Home Guard, was a district commissioner for the scouts and, later, served with the RAF Coastal Command at Lee-on-the-Solent and Calshot, as an instrument repairer on Sunderland flying boats.
Mr Eldridge married Rose Watson at Newport Minster on September 3, 1947. She died last year, aged 88.
After the war, Mr Eldridge attended Guildford Law School, where he qualified as a solicitor and became a junior partner at the Ryde office. He went on to become a senior partner and in 1974 was elected president of the IW Law Society.
Mr Eldridge retired from the firm in 1990 as the last of the Eldridge family to practise law.
A qualified yachtsman, he was a member of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, Fishbourne, the Island Sailing Club, Cowes, and Brading Haven Yacht Club, Bem-bridge.
A committed Christian, he worshipped at Newport Minster and All Saints’ Church, Ryde, where he was a churchwarden.
Mr Eldridge was also a freemason, a member of the Regional Health Board and was a president of past patients at Ryde Hospital.
He was a lover of classical music, especially opera, and was a keen historian. As a member of Ryde Rotary Club, which was twinned with its Loire Valley counterparts, he caravanned in the region.
Mr Eldridge is survived by his sons, Tim and David Eldridge, daughter, Sheila Merrifield, nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
The funeral will be held at All Saints’ Church, Ryde, at 11am on Tuesday, December 4, followed by a family service at the IW Crematorium.