The lost fishermen of Hull were remembered as the St Andrew’s Dock Heritage Park Action Group (STAND) held its 30th annual Lost Trawlermen’s Day Service.
Among the speakers was Alan Johnson, the former Hull West and Hessle MP who is the Patron of the Viola Trust. One of the guests of honour was Andrew Marr, a Director of Andrew Marr International, a member of the Trinity House brethren and a Viola trustee.
Hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects including Alan’s successor, Emma Hardy MP, and the Lord Mayor of Hull, Councillor Peter Allen and the crew of the TS Iron Duke Hull Sea Cadets Corps.
Alan told the congregation at the St Andrew’s Quay memorial site he had been involved with STAND for two-thirds of its history, starting when he attended a Hessle Road reunion not long after his election in 1997.
He said his only regret was that he had never experienced Hessle Road in its heyday, but he was encouraged by the City Council’s plans for a maritime heritage attraction which will feature the Arctic Corsair and hopefully the Viola.
He said: “The fishing industry may be part of Hull’s past but this project will be a central part of its future.”
The Bishop of Hull, the Right Reverend Alison White, welcomed the fine weather. She said she had never known it be sunny for the event, and she’d expected “horizontal rain”.
The Bishop continued: “Coming together over these 30 years for this occasion is of enormous importance. For some of us it’s about recognising that we are part of this place on the banks of the Humber that has drawn our folk to risk the seas in order to make a living. To be part of this place makes us proud.
“For some it’s about honouring the men and the boys who were part of our communities and who worked, joked and endured alongside one another. And to some of us it’s about your personal tenderness, that sharp pain because someone you love could not be here themselves.
“But we also celebrate the life and character of the people who make this place. We are here because of who we are and who we want to be, and our responsibility is to hand this story and this spirit on to the generations to come and to anyone who has the ears and the heart to hear.”
Ron Wilkinson, Chairman of STAND, told how the event has progressed during the last 30 years, sometimes attracting 600 people.
He said: “It is our version of the nation’s Remembrance Sunday. It is as important to us as that. Paying our respects to all the men and boys who have been lost serving in Hull’s fishing fleet. We survive with a positive attitude and a togetherness, and that closeness is still evident today.”
Photograph shows a retired fisherman next to the memorial at St Andrew’s Quay.