Lucie was born Marcelle Louise Othon at Cursan near Creon on 24th November 1942, one of seven children to Maurice and Georgette Othon. Her father, who composed music, died in 1966 and her mother in 1992. Lucie had three brothers, Michel, Francois and Andre (‘Prosper’), and four sisters, including Therese and Mireille. Two of her sisters died young, one at six months and another in 1965, and Lucie’s brother Michel also died, in 1998.
Charlie and Lucie got married at this church in Droxford on 12th July 1969. Lucie naturally made her own wedding dress and those of her bridesmaids. Afterwards they honeymooned in Corsica. Then, through Prue, who had arrived in London to do the season and who had hooked up with me through Nick Duke’s cousin Frances, they met John Rendall – of ‘Christian the Lion’ fame – (and who is here today) and through him became interested in working in Australia. Charlie and Lucie duly sailed for Australia in the summer of 1970 on a Messagerie Maritime paquebot, which they caught in Marseilles. Prue and I drove them down and put them on to the ship.
Landing eventually in Sydney after calling at places like Guadeloupe and the Marquesas, Taihiti and Moorea, Vanuatu and Noumea , they stayed for a while with Arthur Johnson; Arthur then being Prue’s father’s accountant and soon to marry the same Frances (Duke).
Then in 1989 a friend, Dr Milligan, who had acquired a double-decker bus to take to race meetings, allowed Charlie and Lucie to become part owners and extend their business by fitting it out as a mobile restaurant and serving lunches to the likes of De La Rue on the rooftop tables. In 1984 they visited Twickenham and took the bus to Le Mans with Spice Racing. They enjoyed it so much that in 1996 they acquired a much bigger vehicle, an American Motorhome, to cater to the race teams such as GTC Gulf McLaren at events throughout Europe. They developed that business so well that by 1995 they sold Cobbetts, and took on full-time race meeting catering until 2003. This was even harder work than the restaurant, with the cooking being carried out under testing conditions, for instance at Le Mans when the drivers and pit crew required feeding at 2am and again at breakfast as well as throughout the day for ten days at a time. Lucie was quoted in a Sunday Times article as saying ‘They want it and they want it fast!’ They used to feed 84 people at 12 tables of seven under an awning erected on astroturf with fresh flowers on each table. The girls all helped in their holidays and the family lived in the motorhome with a kitchen a trailer behind, but Lucie loved watching the start of each race. In 2000 they sold up in England and moved to France.
10th April 2015