TRIBUTES have been paid to Mark Lockie, the organiser of the Christmas harbour swim in Weymouth for more than 30 years.

Weymouth and Portland Lions Club stalwart Mr Lockie has died aged 76 following a short battle with pancreatic cancer.

He is survived by his wife Stephanie and two children Neil and Damian, four grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Mr Lockie was a marine engineer and worked for Sealink in the 1970s then later a marine surveyor and ran his own company Dorset Marine Surveys.

Mr Lockie first joined the Lions in 1977 while living overseas in Papua New Guinea, where he worked as a marine surveyor.

Dorset Echo: Mark Lockie was a former president of the Lions ClubMark Lockie was a former president of the Lions Club (Image: Supplied)

On his return to Weymouth in 1987, he joined the local club and from those early days, he was heavily involved in many of the club’s activities.

He was a former president of the club and during the Covid-19 lockdown was district governor representing the UK at Lions international events.

Mr Lockie was involved with the Weymouth Harbour Christmas Day Swim since 1987 and took over the main organisation of the event in 1991.

In the early years between 10 and 20 swimmers took part. It has since grown to be a huge festive event raising thousands for good causes - last year more than 350 swimmers braved the water watched by thousands of spectators.

Each year Mr Lockie was on the harbourside to organise the event and on the pontoon to start the swims. 

He was supported by members of the club and his wife who registered the swimmers, and sons who were on the safety boats and canoes. 

Even at Christmas 2023, though very seriously ill, he was on the harbourside as usual. 

The family decided that it was not Christmas if they were not on the harbourside on Christmas morning. 

Dorset Echo: Mark Lockie on the harbour to start a Christmas Day swimMark Lockie on the harbour to start a Christmas Day swim (Image: Supplied)

This annual event raised thousands of pounds for the club and other charities of the swimmer’s choice.

Over the years hundreds of thousands of pounds has been raised.

Mr Lockie was also involved in the motocross event on Weymouth Beach which the Lions jointly organise with Purbeck Motocross Club.

Each year he was there setting up, supervising the event, and taking down, whatever the weather. 

He was dubbed ‘the tide man’ by the Purbeck Motocross Club, as with his vast experience in the marine industry he was able to identify the best weekend for the lowest tides.

In his early years with Weymouth and Portland Lions Club he helped his wife book in the teams for the annual swimarathon and helped with the event at the swimming pool.

President of Weymouth & Portland Lions Club Ryan Hope said: “Mark was someone who believed the Lions motto of ‘We Serve’. 

"He was always ready to be involved and assist in the events organised by the club.

“He will be missed by all members of the club past and present along with many of the organisations we have worked with at Lion’s events.”

The funeral will be held on Tuesday, April 30 at 1pm at the Weymouth Crematorium.

Family and friends are welcome wearing bright colours but it's requested that there are no flowers.

His family have set up a GoFundMe page so that Mr Lockie's fundraising can continue after his death.

All proceeds will be split between the Weymouth and Portland Lions Club charities and the Fortuneswell Cancer Trust.