First National Fishing Remembrance Day held in Devon

National Fishing Remembrance Day
National Fishing Remembrance Day at Brixham [BBC]

The first National Fishing Remembrance Day services have taken place at locations around the UK including South Devon.

A service to remember fishermen who have lost their lives at sea was held at Brixham Fish Quay at 11:00 BST on Sunday.

The day of remembrance was supported by maritime charities - the Fishermen’s Mission, The Seafarers’ Charity and Stella Maris.

Helen Lovell-Smith from the Fisherman's Mission said fishermen were "the lifeblood of our community".

'Pay our respects'

Ms Lovell-Smith said Brixham had held its own fishermen's service for about 50 years, but the commemoration had now been recognised by the government and charities as a national day of remembrance.

"We will take time, all of our colleagues around the UK, to pay our respects and say thank you and remember those fishermen who have given their lives to put fish on our tables," she said.

"We know the impact that it can have, particularly when there is a loss of life at sea and unfortunately we have had that in our community with people we have known."

Not forgotten

Ms Lovell-Smith said she knew the toll fishing takes on families.

"The fishing industry is integral to our community here and I think everyone is part of it," she said.

"If you're born in Brixham it's likely that you will know someone who goes to sea or they might be a family member of yours."

As part of the service Ms Lovell-Smith read a list of names of fishermen who had been lost in local waters as well as fishermen from Devon who had been lost away from home.

She said the roll call would start with fishermen lost in 1817 to the present day to make sure "families know their loved ones have not been forgotten".

'Tough life'

Songs were performed by local bands Black Gold and Missin' Tackle, and Torbay MP Kevin Foster also carried out a reading during the service.

Stella Maris chaplain, Ann Donnelly said having an official event mattered because of the "important work" done by fishermen.

She said: "They go out and all hours, night and day and often it's a very tough life.

"When anything happens, death or even sickness, there's a ripple effect through the whole community and it's important that they are honoured and remembered."

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