Crewmen remembered with special festive gift

Torbay Weekly

A giant Christmas tree will take pride of place in Brixham to celebrate the festive season and to also remember two men lost in a fishing boat tragedy.

The 18 foot tree was transported to the port earlier this week from the Marldon Christmas Tree Farm who donated it.

It is just over a year ago that the two crew, Adam Harper, 26, and Robert Morley, 38, were lost when the 45ft scallop dredger Joanna C capsized and sank.

Skipper Dave Bickerstaff miraculously survived after he was found clinging to a buoy for four or five hours after the boat went down.

Brixham remembered and marked the anniversary of the tragedy with a gathering at the Man and Boy memorial statue in the port on the same day and time the Joanna C's distress signal was sounded.

A second event was held 12 hours later at Newhaven – from where the Joanna C sailed from on her last journey.

It is the second year a tree has been donated by Marldon to Brixham. It was the Newhaven connection which prompted the link between the tree farm and fishing community.

Steve Gribbon, from the farm, said: “The tree is for the families and the community.

“We had a couple of lads who worked for us last year who were fishermen from Newhaven and they were talking about the tragedy.

“We are more than happy to do this. What happened was tragic.”

Barry Young, of Brixham Trawler Agents, helped by local engineer Colin Champion, Ian Onslow, of DD Electrical Engineering and crane lift company man Paul Shepherd were making sure the tree took pride of place on the Middle Pier after being installed at the weekend.