His son – also called Chris – has released these poignant pictures of his father.
The Marina, opened in 1990, was a passion and eventually a career for Chris senior who worked with his family to make it a jewel in Preston’s crown.
Before this he ran a successful haulage firm in the city for decades.
His family and friends are to pay tribute at a funeral service on Thursday and these pictures below give an idea of Chris’ love of all things nautical.
S.S. Manxman, an ex Isle of Man passenger ferry was brought tp Preston by local businessman Tony Gornall. At the time, the river was shallow and the channel hard to navigate but with the assistance of local business and sailing enthusiast Chris MIller, she was brought safely to the town where she spent several years as a floating disco and restuarant complex. In 1983 the Manxman also formed the focus of the “Aquaganza”, a festival of marina and related activity designed to showcase the derelict port’s potential for leisure activity. Chris Miller, a promoter of the event went on to develop his ideas for yachting at the site, going on to create PrestonMarina in 1988.
Following the closure of Preston Dock as a commercial port, local business man and keen yachtsman, Chris Miller researches the possibilities for leisure boats to use the site as a marina. Along with other prominent local businessmen he formed Riversway Consortium, a group dedicated to winning the contract to completely redevelop the site in the 1980’s. Though the consortium did not win their bid, the plans made by them for the marine activity were largely adopted by the town council and Chris Miller went on to develop Preston Marina as a successful asset for the town.
Even whilst the Port of Preston was still operational some leisure boats were making use of the River Ribble. Athene Nikki was a ferro-cement yacht built on the river bank and launched using the specialist skills of Chris Miller Ltd. and particularly the firm’s Managing Director Chris Miller. A keen yachtsman, Chris Miller devised and constructed an ingenious temporary slipway made from railway track which was used to launch the vessel on completion.
Chris Miller, founder of Preston Marina, pictured aboard the Preston Puffin in her last trip up river in 2007, prior to de commissioning.
Even whilst the Port of Preston was still operational some leisure boats were making use of the River Ribble. Athene Nikki was a ferro-cement yacht built on the river bank and launched using the specialist skills of Chris MIller Ltd. and particularly the firm’s Managing Director Chris Miller. A keen yachtsman, Chris Miller devised and constructed an ingenious temprary slipway made from railway track which was used to launch the vessel on completion.
Preston Puffin is launched at Preston Marina c.1992. Preston Puffin was converted from a fishing boat in order to offer boat rides around the dock and into the river. Chris Miller, founder of Preston Marina is seen right of centre, in the dark jacket.
Early 1950’s at Preston Dock. A gentleman’s motor yacht is launched into the dock basin watched by brothers Chris and David Miller (far right). Chris later went on to found Preston Marina on the site following the closure of the dock as a commercial port.
“Kia Ora” with Chris Miller of the Preston Marina Training Centre at the helm returns to the dock after a high speed trip down the river Ribble. Preston Marina offer RYA accredited training courses for recreational sailors and power boat enthusiasts.
Chris Miller working at the Preston Yacht Haven, precursor to Preston Marina based in No. 3 Shed on the south side of the main dock basin. c.1988
Did you know Chris? Do these pictures bring back any memories? Let us know in the comments below