Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Twinkle no more.



Flown at half mast, the harbour's Cornish flag signifies that yet another Newlyn skipper and someone for whom the title, 'character' was totally justified, has gone to the big wheelhouse in the sky...


This week we say goodbye to John Trenerry, who, as an apprentice boatbuilder in Porthleven was given the nickname Twinkle by the boatyard boss - anyone who knew him will immediately identify with how the name arose - his very presence enough to lighten the mood no matter what the circumstances - though to be fair he must have driven said boss and the other guys half crazy with his constant banter and antics - not that he changed much over the years as anyone who had the pleasure of sailing under him as I did aboard the Reliance for a short while will testify...


he honed his fishing skills back in the 70s when the majority of the Newlyn fleet chased mackerel during the winter months with handlines and gurdys on boats from 16 to 60ft starting with the toshers, We Too, Morning Star, Gay Dawn, Early Dawn, Silver Searcher...



then the 54ft ex-Scottish ringnetter Gallaich Milis (above left) followed by the ex-Danish anchor seiner Fiona Thomson both rigged to longling for ling on the ground or pollack, coley and congers on the wrecks - he was also one of the nomadic fleet of longliners that went chasing spurdogs up as far as the Irish Sea when he and a small fleet of pioneering Newlyn boats in the 80s based themselves for long periods away in Milford Haven and Holyhead until longlining gave way to multi then monofilament gillnetting - though Twinkle had an additional and real talent that the fleet were sometimes treated to at sea - when the boats were steaming around Mounts Bay looking for mackerel marks on their old paper sounders and all hands were growing increasingly irritated by staccato voices (you know who you were!) mimicking Robin Williams, of Mork and Mindy fame, constantly uttering 'shazbot' over their VHFs across the fleet ...


he would serenade the fleet over the VHF radio - in another life he could have had a career as a professional singer - his sweet tenor voice was that good...


his 50' netter Reliance was replaced by the inshore trawler Two Boys...

 

which was later broken up in 2009, sadly, dementia deprived his family and the rest of us that twinkle for the last few years of his well-lived life...

though the Treneere fishing heritage continues to live on in Newlyn fishing as his son skippers the hake netter, Silver Dawn.

RIP Twinkle

PS On hearing of the news, ex-Milford Haven skipper Bob Cairns posted this lovely story about Twinkle. It chronicles the start of the Newlyn longliners working from Milford in the early 80s. It is written in Bob's inimitable style: 

"With sadness read about Twinkle after Penlee lifeboat disaster I had to go back Milford haven on my own then a few boats said they are coming with me I so happy Twinkle Dave And Kenny Downing well as we came up Milford we had a pea super so I told Twinkle stay rioght behind me Twinkle veard off a bit at Thorn Island what a shock he had he just missed it he stayed all the way right behind me till we in safely Dave wanted to start fishing I said go of 6 miles and shoot good fishing Kenny came later and shot his gear and filled the Spesferma full of ray not expearance to line like them so had to watch what times we had."

At the time, Bob owned the Girl Freda.


Notice from the family today:

John Hazeldine Trenerry's funeral to be held at Bangor Crematorium 21st March at 11am.

A celebration of his life will be held at The Bath Inn, Penzance from 3:30pm on the  24th March - all hands welcome.