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Friday, 29 August 2014

Newlyn's annual blessing of the fleet mourns the loss of 90 fishermen's lives lost

THE bustle and busyness of Newlyn's annual Fish Festival has been preceded by a moment of quiet reflection on the sacrifice of those who risk their lives to bring home the catch. On the night before the festival, a roll of honour bearing the names of more than 90 Cornish fishermen lost at sea while engaged in the world's most dangerous peacetime profession were read out amid absolute silence at the Blessing of the Fleet service. 


Photo courtesy of the Cornishman
One fisherman's family, who had relocated to Wales, came back to Cornwall specially for the occasion, and others travelled from as far as Bude. "I think we had just under 100 names read out and you could have heard a pin drop throughout," said Keith Dickson, superintendent of the Fishermen's Mission in Newlyn, which organised the roll-call. "I was concerned at how long the roll of honour would take but the silence was absolutely perfectly observed. "It was very poignant and very touching." 

The packed service was held in the fish market, after downpours ruined plans to read the roll of honour out on the quay. Mr Dickson said: "It was a necessity but it turned out to be a real bonus. "There was a really good crowd considering the weather and the families really appreciated that. "They were really touched with the numbers of people there and the recognition their loved ones got. "It was really nice to see so many people there." 

Dignitaries attending the Sunday service included the Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall, Edward Bolitho, and Father Keith Owen, of St Peter's in Newlyn, who gave an address. Mr Dickson said: "This wasn't about Newlyn and west Cornwall. The Mission covers all of Cornwall and the Cornish fishing community is one community. "We joke about the rivalry between St Ives fishermen and Newlyn fishermen but what happened on Sunday proved what we already knew; if you're Cornish, you're Cornish and if you're a fisherman, you're a fisherman." 

Read more: http://www.cornishman.co.uk/Blessing-Fleet/story-22841978-detail/story.html#ixzz3BlnzrjGe