In memory of all those lost at sea

The annual Fishermen's Reunion was held at Fleetwood Conservative Club. Organiser Leon O'Flaherty and his grandson Michael Swann.
The annual Fishermen's Reunion was held at Fleetwood Conservative Club. Organiser Leon O'Flaherty and his grandson Michael Swann.

FISHERMEN from across the country gathered in Fleetwood to remember friends and relatives lost at sea.

The annual Fleetwood Sea Service saw hundreds of current and former fishermen attend a poignant day of services at the Mount Methodist Church on Mount Road, and later at Fleetwood Lifeboat Station on the Esplanade.

Coun David Bannister, the Mayor of Wyre, and Eric Ollerenshaw, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, both read lessons at the service, which remembered the bravery and dedication shown by fishermen at sea.

Organised by the internationally recognised Fishermen’s Mission, the day was attended by mariners from the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire towns of Hull and Grimsby, while representatives from the Royal Naval Association, the Merchant Navy Association and the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment (KOBR) were present.

Coun Bannister said: “The people there were all dedicated and it was absolutely magnificent.

“It’s a very important service because it recognises what has gone before and what is going on now and is a recognition of the service fishermen give to this country.”

A packed congregation at the Mount Methodist Church were led in a service by representatives from the Fleetwood Fishermen’s Mission including the honorary chaplain Len Preston.

He said that while it was a day of remembrance, it was also a day to celebrate the fisherman’s achievements.

Mr Preston said: “It was beautiful to remember the men and women of their towns who have given their lives at sea.

“There was humour and a very good atmosphere which always happens during ex-service occasions.

“It’s the chance to re-count the heyday of fishing in Fleetwood.”

After the service, families and friends of the fishermen, along with members of the public made the short journey to the Esplanade to lay wreaths in the water.

Eric Ollerenshaw, who was attending his second Fleetwood Sea Service as a member of parliament, emphasised the importance of such events for the community.

He added: “In one sense it was a commemoration of the fishermen and in another sense a celebration.

“The heritage that Fleetwood has is very moving and it was well represented by the residents and services.”