Sunday, 5 December 2021

RIP Ex-Newlyn Harbourmaster Andrew Munson 1952-2021

Andrew Munson - Newlyn Harbourmaster 1979-2013



Andrew Munson first joined the harbour as a Trainee Clerk in 1969, after discovering during the school holidays while crabbing aboard the Mes Creiz that severe seasickness was never going to leave him alone. He was appointed Harbour Master and Clerk to the Commissioners ten years later. During his time as Harbour Master Andrew saw many major improvements...


including the building of the Mary Williams Pier in 1980, and its 90m extension in 1988...



and he oversaw totally refurbished the old Fish Market which was almost totally open to the elements and entirely unsuitable for selling fish 90% of which was bought and exported to the EU...


the pontoon system in 2006...



and the improvements to the slipway facilities in 2006.


Over the years, Andrew helped to host many royal visits, including HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, HRH Duke of Cornwall, The Prince of Wales, and also the late Diana, Princess of Wales. He has also helped to host many Governmental and other official visits to Newlyn...



and helped initiate Radio Cornwall's harbourmaster reports on James Churchfield breakfast show keeping the public informed on all the latest harbour comings and goings.


Throughout his career Andrew has been at the centre of Newlyn life and has helped the local community and the harbour in many ways, both professionally and personally. He was an active member of the Local Advisory Committee of the Fisherman’s Mission and a former Chairman of Newlyn Lights.


Andrew was very much the hands-on harbourmaster...


and a skilled boatsman never afraid to take to the water...



and get his hands dirty to keep the fleet safe when needed..


or step aboard to hear for first-hand what the problems were.


He was also the French Consular Agent for Cornwall having helped many injured French fishermen with repatriation to France after their hospital care...

and for these services he was awarded the French Honour of Knight of the Maritime Merit Order...


He was just as happy chatting to the regular Dutch and Belgian skippers when they made a safe-haven in the port...


Being harbourmaster for that length of time meant that he also witnessed great change in the fishing industry witnessing the demise of the huge fleet of mackerel handliners that assembled every winter in the '70s to the growth of Newlyn as the premier port home to the biggest beam trawl and gill net fleet in the UK...



and, of course, he was never far from every major incident in the area including the loss of the Penlee lifeboat in 1981...




subsequently, Andrew was Penlee Life Boat Operations Manager from 1989 and later awarded the RNLI Gold Award in recognition of his services to the RNLI in 2012.

All in all, looking back on his time as harbourmaster, Andrew, with some degree of satisfaction, could surely say that he had seen the harbour through some seriously challenging times as old practices and resistance to change continued to defy an industry at odds with a world increasingly dominated by forces that would bring in change no matter what and that the harbour was in a better place then than when he had started as clerk to the commissioners back in the 60s.

RIP Andrew.