Newlyn Fish Market - boats due to land.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

The most severe storm of the 1970s - a Westward TV report from the archives.

Westward TV reporter, John Doyle filed this report the day after the worst storm for 20 years battered the port when a bulletin was put out just before the 9 o'clock (as it was then) news that night asking skippers and owners of fishing boats in Newlyn to tend to their boats...

George Lawry - a big man with an even bigger heart - he and his wife Daphne were founding members and the driving force behind the CFPO and the now, long defunct, Newlyn Fishermen's Association.

many of the bigger boats had already been manned for several hours and by putting the boats in and out of gear they managed to hold the long tiers together...

 - in those days the tiers were up to 14 deep!  Although five smaller boats sank that night (Robbie Wilks' Quo Vadis at 11m was the biggest) a total disaster was averted by the bigger trawlers and beam trawlers who used their trawl warps fore and aft as mooring ropes. By midnight there wasn't a single fender between any of the boats as they were worn or torn away by the constant chaffing of the boats caused by the huge 'run' in the harbour....

here skipper Derek Soulsby of the Pathfinder recounts how he and his crew rescued a young woman who (don't ask) was attempting to get down the quay at the time when she was washed off her feet and was one wave away from being washed into the harbour. As George Lawry said earlier, the waves topped the lamp posts on the quay (then they were higher than today's lamp posts too) that night and the decks of the quay boats were constantly being filled. George's boat, the Sea or Tea Eagle as she was known spent that night moored alongside the fish market - whereas skipper Bobby Cairns, skipper of the Girl Freda was unable to get aboard so he spent the night in the Star INN fearing the worst - Bobby now lives in Thailand. 

In addition to the many handline fishermen from Cornwall, Scottish purser fishermen of that era will probably have memories of George in action in some of Falmouth's more notorious hostelries, namely the Chain Locker, Shades and then after-hours in the Arwennack Hotel or 'Fawlty Towers' or as it was more commonly referred to by visiting fishermen!

In quieter, more considered moments, George and Daphne took a certain Michael Grandage under their wing and allowed him to blossom in Penzance with such creative tours-de-force as the embryonic Shiva and Kneehigh theatre groups.