The Isle of Wight has always been known for its colourful characters and local personalities.

Unlike many other corners of the British Isles, the Isle of Wight has always recognised local personalities, artists and performers as of equal importance to those of national and international fame.

Scroll through the gallery of pictures above to see everyone...

So here I have attempted to hunt out some of those colourful personalities of recent yesteryear.

THEODORE SEARLE: Theo, as he was affectionately known was a “gentleman of the road” during 1960s and 70s perhaps one of the last on the Isle of Wight.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Theodore Searle. Photo courtesy of David White.

Born the son of a clergyman and educated at a public school, he spent more than 30 years living rough on the Island.

The perfect gentleman and liked by all who came into contact with him, he would — if invited — enter a local pub in Ryde to showcase his wonderful musical abilities on the piano.

GEORGE WEEKS: a well-known contractor from Freshwater who always had a joke and a cheerful word.

He purchased Calbourne Water Mill and turned it into the tourist attraction which is still in operation today.

He also had an interest in local history, especially the old Victorian forts in the West Wight area.

CANON JAMES BUCKETT: known to many people as Jim, he was the vicar of St Thomas Parish Church, Newport, during the 1970s until his retirement.

He was also chaplain to many Island organisations such as the army cadets, the local council, Isle of Wight Grocers Association, the Rotary Club, British Legion, RAF Association, the Mission to Seamen and many more Island organisations.

Jim always had a smile on his face and a cheeky twinkle in his eye.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Rev. Jim Buckett.  Photo courtesy of David White.

BERT KEMP: came from a 400-year tradition of a family connected to the sea.

For many years he was longshoreman at Shanklin, where he kept a fleet of rowing boats for hire to the beach-goers.

During the warm summers he was a familiar face on Shanklin’s Esplanade, he was also one of the founder members of Shanklin’s sailing club.

JIM EVATT: was wounded out of the 1914-18 war and spent time in Albany Military Hospital.

Upon release he started a well-known building business in Newport.

Later in life he saw an opening for a window-cleaning business and he became a well-known face around the town to both tradesmen and local shoppers.

He could always be found having his pint in the old and now defunct Bugle Inn in Newport High Street.

Right up until the 1970s, Jim could still be found cleaning shop windows, and used to say that he would never put his feet up as working kept him fit and active.

PETER LEATH: made an international name for himself as a much sought-after marine artist.

Peter lived and worked in Newport and one may still find much of his work about today.

NEESTA MEECH: Island-born she made her career on the English stage, until returning to the Island.

Using her knowledge she started what was at the time probably one of the earliest schools of stage dancing on the Isle of Wight.

She became a byword for the annual pantomimes which she would stage each year, these raised thousands of pounds for charities.

LEN MITCHELL: during the 1970s, as cultural director for the Isle of Wight, he played an important part in raising the library profile and pushed forward — against much opposition — the building of the Newport Library.

He even took an active part in its design. Seeing a need to further the appreciation of art and bring exhibitions to the public Island-wide, he helped by introducing art exhibitions into libraries around the Island.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Harry Orchard.  Photo courtesy of David White.

HARRY ORCHARD: Harry could be seen come rain or shine outside what was then Newport Post Office, selling matches and bootlaces from a tray.

During his early life he unfortunately lost both of his legs, and instead got about on his two wooden stumps, accompanied by the use of two walking sticks.

He would always have a smile for passers-by despite the weather and he did eventually retire and took life a little easier.

P.C. RAY ROWSELL: during the late 1960 to early 1970s, Ray was the popular traditional village bobby in Bembridge. He spent much of his spare time in connection with youth work and was awarded a BEM for his work.

Upon his posting to the Southampton area, the village of Bembridge raised a public petition and presented it to Hampshire’s chief constable, to ask that Ray be kept in post.

But bureaucracy won and their much-loved bobby had to wave goodbye.

STANLEY STEVENS: was a well-known Newport butcher and ran a very busy and popular shop in Newport’s Pyle Street.

Customers would always find him dressed in the traditional butchers' attire — straw hat, white coat and blue-striped apron.

He would always rise early in the mornings before anyone frequented the streets, and would go about his regular early morning pastime before he started work — that of helping to tidy up the town.

He cleared untidy corners, cleaned dirty street signs and even polished the many brass plates on the walls of banks.

He can be described as an early supporter of the fight against urban street pollution during the 1970s.

SIR CHARLES BARING: was a well-known figure on the magistrates’ bench as chairman, he had come from the long line of Barings of Cowes.

He being one of the last of the Baring family to reside in Nubia House, once was situated off Baring Road.

Sir Charles was heavily involved with the lifeboat board, something very close to his heart. He also served as a very active Deputy Lieutenant for the Isle of Wight.

One of his claims to notoriety was when, as a young boy playing tennis at Nubia House, he was being watched by Queen Mary, who happened to be sitting at the side of the tennis court drinking a cup of tea.

He described how his serve had gone way off course, headed for the Queen, knocked her teacup out of her hand, and spilled the contents all over her dress.

Needless to say the Queen was not amused.

Like reading stories about the Isle of Wight in bygone days? Click here to visit our Looking Back section.

Did you have great memories of growing up on the Isle of Wight? If so, click here to visit the We grew up on the Isle of Wight Facebook group.