Roy Glencross who delivered the homage, with Ben Stock - standard bearer, at Boston's lost fishermen's memorial.Roy Glencross who delivered the homage, with Ben Stock - standard bearer, at Boston's lost fishermen's memorial.
Roy Glencross who delivered the homage, with Ben Stock - standard bearer, at Boston's lost fishermen's memorial.

Boston takes part in first National Fishing Remembrance Day

A special memorial event was staged in Boston on Sunday (May 12) as part of a UK-wide effort to mark the first ever National Fishing Remembrance Day.

The new annual day of reflection was dedicated to honouring those who lost their lives while working in the fishing industry.

The day served as a poignant reminder of the perils faced while fishing at sea and the need to continue to improve safety standards in the sector.

The ceremony was held around Boston’s lost fishermen’s memorial installed in 20189 beside St Botolph’s Footbridge.

It was an opportunity to raise awareness of the dangers of fishing as a profession to a wider audience and to remember those who have lost their lives at sea. For those living and working in local fishing communities it is hoped that this will become an annual focal point for remembrance and connection with the national fishing industry. This period of remembrance will also provide an opportunity to focus on initiatives aimed at improving safety in commercial fishing.

Frontman of Sleaford band, The Band From County Hell, Jock Mclelland was invited to perform at the service in Boston.

Last year Jock penned a song entitled, The Plight of Boston Fishermen, which addresses the problems facing fishermen in Boston in The Wash.

The song was played live on Endeavour Radio in Boston and appreciated by local fishermen.

He was joined by the Band From County Hell clan drummers and the band of the Boston Sea Cadets.

Maritime charities, The Seafarers’ Charity, Fishermen’s Mission and Stella Maris joined forces to develop and support this new event. The first-ever National Fishing Remembrance Day saw many local remembrance services held at fishing memorials across the UK, where communities gathered to pay their respects.

Fisheries Minister Sir Mark Spencer also marked the occasion in Lincolnshire at Grimsby.

Minister Spencer laid a wreath to honour the lives of those lost at sea and recognised the valuable service of fishermen. He later said: “I have huge respect for our fishermen. It’s tough, dangerous work carried out in challenging conditions. Today I was humbled to join families and the fishing community of Grimsby for the first National Fishing Remembrance Day.”

The Seafarers’ Charity’s Chief Executive, Deborah Layde also laid a wreath and shared the rationale behind the creation of a new National Fishing Remembrance Day and the importance of support for improving fishing safety to prevent future fatalities.

She said: “We are deeply honoured to have been asked by Government to lead the development of this inaugural National Fishing Remembrance Day in the UK. The success and desire for this new National Day of Remembrance is evident in the remembrance services held across 24 diverse locations nationwide and the extent of support from Government and various government departments involved in supporting fishing safety. With the active participation of UK Government officials, fishing industry representatives, maritime welfare charities, and local fishing communities, this new National Fishing Remembrance Day truly embodies our collective dedication and determination to ensure that future generations of fishers can work in safer conditions.”

While the staff and volunteers of the Fishermen’s Mission and Stella Maris led the delivery of local events, The Seafarers’ Charity has worked hard over the past two years to galvanise support and interest for the day amongst key stakeholders, resulting in support from a range of government departments and key stakeholders including DEFRA, Department for Transport, Maritime & Coastguard Agency, HM Coastguard, Marine Accident Investigation Branch, Marine Management Organisation, Seafish, Royal Museums Greenwich, British Ports Association and even the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

In addition to the day itself, The Seafarers’ Charity has supported the development of an interactive map by Royal Museums Greenwich, highlighting fishing memorials across the UK. This initiative aims to raise awareness of the sacrifices made by fishermen and ensure their legacy is preserved for future generations.

Despite advances in safety measures, statistically fishing is one of the most dangerous professions in the UK with 11,000 people working on fishing vessels in a harsh and unpredictable environment to bring ashore much needed seafood, with recent tragedies occurring off the coasts of north-east Scotland and southern England in 2023.

The impact of fishing disasters extends beyond immediate families, affecting entire fishing communities. To help prevent such tragic loss of life, The Seafarers’ Charity has committed resources to improve fishing safety now, and into the future.

The Seafarers’ Charity proudly stands alongside maritime organisations in honouring the memory of those lost at sea and will continue advocating for a safer future for all who work in commercial fishing.

Next year’s National Fishing Remembrance Day will be on Sunday, May 11, 2025.

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