Paul Labistour - man who 'made his mark' on communities he lived and worked in

Torbay Weekly

Brixham is mourning the loss of former harbour master and local character Paul Labistour.

Paul has died aged 57 after he sadly lost his battle with cancer.

Born in East Yorkshire in 1963 to a maritime family, Paul grew up in Nigeria and then Hong Kong where his father worked as a harbour master. As a child he would learn maths in the morning and would be allowed to go out on the boats in the afternoon as a reward.

At 16 Paul, who was passionate about the sea, joined the Merchant Navy as a cadet. He attained his masters ticket and worked all around the world – his work included laying underwater communication cables (these being pre-satellite days) and with Trinity House on the buoy tender vessels.

Paul married Viv in 1995 in Leamington Spa. Their daughter, Sidonie, was born the following year.  Paul at this time worked as harbour master in Boston, Lincolnshire, moving to Brixham in 1998. Sadly Viv passed away in 2009.

In Brixham Paul took up the post of harbour master – a position he thoroughly enjoyed and one he used to successfully deliver projects for the benefit of the town. These included the Fish Market project and its associated works. He helped support Fishstock Brixham, Pride in Brixham, Brixham Heritage Festival Rally along with other local events including the visit of the Duchess of Cornwall in 2013.

He always loved passing on his extensive maritime knowledge and worked with various councils, charities and government organisations to help and train students in the UK and from as far afield as Argentina, Bangladesh, Romania, Bulgaria, Venezuela, New Zealand, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

In 2015 Paul met Moira McCarthy-Thomas through mutual friends. She eventually moved to Brixham so that they could be together and support each other (along with their grown-up children).

In 2017 Paul was hired to oversee management and improvement projects for Bideford and Appledore harbours in North Devon – a post he held until April this year.

Always passionate about the community, Paul stood for election to Torbay Council in 2019.  He was a keen grower of organic vegetables – having an allotment in the town for over 20 years. His many interests included food and gardening - he loved to cook; he was an avid collector of antiques, and there was nothing more he enjoyed than discussing current affairs over a pint or two in one of Brixham’s pubs.

Paul really made his mark on the towns and communities he lived and worked in and will be sadly missed by all who knew him.  A service to celebrate Paul’s life will take place at Churston Parish Church at 12 noon on Friday November 5. Donations in memory of Paul for the RNLI Torbay Lifeboat and for Turner Ward may be given online at