Shine a light for our boys

Special heart-shaped lights were shone over the Brixham quayside for the Joanna C crew. Photo: Chris

Special heart-shaped lights were shone over the Brixham quayside for the Joanna C crew. Photo: Chris Slack Photography - Credit: Archant

Residents across Torbay are being asked to unite and a shine a light for the victims of a Brixham boat tragedy.

In a matter of days thousands of pounds have been raised to support the local families affected by the sinking of the 45ft scalloper Joanna C off the Sussex coast last weekend.

Skipper Dave Bickerstaff, 34, was found clinging to a lifebuoy and was rescued by the Newhaven lifeboat and is recovering in hospital.

An extensive search was launched for missing fishermen Adam Harper, 26, and Robert Morley, 38.

Adam’s body was subsequently recovered from his bunk on the boat on Tuesday. Mr Morley was still missing presumed drowned.

A Harper family spokesman said on social media: “I just wanted to let everyone know that Adam has been recovered from the boat of the Joanna c and will be coming home to us before his final journey. Adam was found in his bunk as we expected as he was in bed at the time of the accident. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for everything you have been amazing but can I please ask you to continue with you love and prayers for Rob and his family and keep our candles burning and lights shining to bring Rob back home where he belongs. Love to you all.”

A vigil is planned for Saturday December 5 at 18.14 - the time on Saturday morning when the Joanna C distress signal was activated - where residents will be turning off their lights, going outside and shining lights up to the sky.

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An appeal to raise funds to support the Fishermen’s Mission in Brixham has reached more than £23,000.

Organiser Tony Rowe, a former owner of the Joanna C, said: “It has been an overwhelming day.

“Who would have thought in a few hours the community would raise more than £10,000.”

Brixham, Torbay and fishing communities along the coast have come together in support of the affected families.

Candles were lit in hundreds of homes on Sunday evening and messages of support have come in from across the country.

Flowers, cards and candles were also laid at the foot of the Man and Boy statue on King’s Quay in the port, a memorial erected a few years ago in honour of the fishing industry.

Helen Lovell, Fishermen’s Mission port officer, said: “Our hearts go out to all involved.

“Brixham is such a tight knit community, we love our own and look after each other.

“The community has shown they are with us in thought and prayer and there’s been a heart-warming response.

“The Fishermen’s Mission is providing a lifeline for the families.

“It’s not just the families affected now, we are here for all fishermen offering pastoral, emotional and financial support.”

Further crowdfunding pages have been set up.

One set up by Sarah Cook has raised more than £9,000.

She said: “Our prayers are with those directly involved and the wider community who all have been affected in some way.”

A spokesman for Brixham town council said: “Brixham Town Council would like to express their thanks to Newhaven and Eastbourne Lifeboats, HM Coastguard and numerous other fishing vessels for all of their efforts.

“Our thoughts are very much with the families and friends at this sad time.”

Town clerk Tracey Hallett laid flowers at the Man and Boy statue on behalf of the town council.

Rev Stephen Yates opened All Saints Church on Sunday for anyone who wanted to say a prayer.

Brixham MP Anthony Mangnall said: “The sinking of the Joanna C is a tragedy that has hit every part of our coastal community.

“The loss of two crew members is a heavy reminder of the risks our brave fishermen take to supply Britain’s demand for freshly caught produce.

“I pay tribute to the RNLI, Marine and Coastguard Agencies and local fishermen who responded to the emergency.

“I also want to highlight the work of the Fishermen’s Mission who stand ready to help friends and family members of those impacted by this tragic event.”