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Cornwall Marine Directory

Long serving Falmouth lawyer to retire

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main_bernardfox_hinedowningOne of Cornwall’s best-known lawyers is preparing to retire after 45 years in the profession. September will be a red letter month for Bernard Fox, when he steps down from his full-time role at Falmouth based Cornwall Marine Network member Hine Downing.

Mr Fox, of Penryn, is almost equally well known for his support of the RNLI. He has been chairman of the Falmouth branch since 1994 and was vice-chairman for the previous 11 years – and he plans to continue in that capacity “for as long as I am able and for as long as they want me.”

But the 63-year-old former president of Cornwall Law Society (2002) has decided it is time to step back from his mainstream activity.

Bernard had joined Reginald Rogers as an articled clerk in 1963 – when he helped Kenneth Gilbert in the Russell Pascoe and Dennis Whitty murder case, leading to two of Britain’s last hangings before capital punishment was abolished in 1965.

An old boy of Falmouth Grammar School, he progressed to senior partner with the firm. A heart attack ten years ago forced a review of his commitments, leading to a merger with Hine Downing, whom he will now continue to serve for a further two years as a consultant.

His representative roles with the Law Society and RNLI have led to three meetings with Her Majesty The Queen, whom he fondly recalls as “a wonderful woman, sweet and charming, with beautiful, piercing eyes.”

He feels “privileged” to have been involved with the lifeboat crew, adding: “It’s like a unique club; once you are in it, you are never forgotten and you know you have a bunch of great friends you can call upon whatever may happen to you.”

As well as his lifeboat activity, Bernard is now seeking another good cause to serve in his retirement, when he will also indulge his hobbies of walking, painting, DIY, sailing and gardening.

“I have cherished my relationship with all my clients. They have come from all walks of life and it is wonderful to receive their friendly greetings and gestures when I see them outside the office.”

Bernard, a past president of Falmouth Rotary Club, reflects: “It is going to be such a wrench to withdraw from them. It’s been more of a vocation than a job. I believe if you do this job properly it has to be a vocation, and I would advise any budding lawyer to adopt that approach rather than doing it just for the money.”

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