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Fishing boats add to Wick memorial fundraising effort


By Jean Gunn


Cheques from local boats Reaper and Opportune are presented to the chairman of the Seafarers Memorial Group, Willie Watt. From left: Darren Norquoy, of Scrabster Seafoods, Graeme Bremner, Bremner Fishing Company, Willie Watt, Reaper skipper Donald Anderson and joint owner Peter Sinclair.
Cheques from local boats Reaper and Opportune are presented to the chairman of the Seafarers Memorial Group, Willie Watt. From left: Darren Norquoy, of Scrabster Seafoods, Graeme Bremner, Bremner Fishing Company, Willie Watt, Reaper skipper Donald Anderson and joint owner Peter Sinclair.

THE Seafarers Memorial Group in Wick has received another major boost thanks to the generosity of two fishing boats.

The Reaper donated a box of fish from its first landing at Scrabster towards the fund to erect a memorial honouring all the seafarers lost at sea from or in the WK registration area.

Sold recently at Scrabster, the box of monkfish was bought jointly by five buyers – Scrabster Seafoods, H & D Calder, Thomson International, Bell's Seafood and JPL Shellfish (Scotland).

The lot fetched £250 with each of the five buyers putting in another £100 each, which the boat owners Peter Sinclair and Donald Anderson matched with an additional £500 – bringing the total donated to £1250.

On Friday the cheque from the Reaper was presented to Willie Watt, chairman of the Seafarers Memorial Group, along with a cheque for £1000 from the last box caught by the Opportune.

The Reaper owners were made aware of the memorial group and took part in this year's ceremony in Wick Bay which paid tribute to those who died in August 1848 during Black Saturday and in other tragedies over the years.

Skipper Donald Anderson said: "Myself, Peter Sinclair and the crew decided it would be fitting if the Reaper was to auction off its first box of fish to be landed at Scrabster to help raise money towards this fund.

"The group are doing great work raising funds for a fitting memorial for those who have been directly affected by the loss of life at sea."

He added: "It was very fitting that it tied in with the Opportune's last box of fish, and we'd like to thank the buyers at Scrabster for their generosity."

As previously reported, the Wick-registered Opportune – owned by Bremner Fishing Company – retired last month after a career spanning 40 years and the owners decided to mark the occasion by donating the last box of fish towards the fund.

Following the presentation, Mr Watt said: "We have been humbled by the generosity of everyone and the fishing industry in general. Both the Reaper and the Opportune have been very supportive.

"We are very grateful for all the help everyone has given us to deliver a lasting monument. It has been amazing."

He added: "The fact that our heritage has been largely built on the fishing industry and there is nowhere to go to remember those lost at sea has obviously struck a chord with a lot of people.

"We have a target of between £80,000 and £100,000, and we are almost halfway there with over £40,000 raised, which is an amazing sum in the time we have been doing it."

Many coastal communities have memorials for those lost at sea but there is nothing of this nature in the far north of Scotland and the group, set up in June last year, aims to remedy that.

Members have set up a crowdfunding page where people can donate. This can be accessed from their Facebook page, Seafarers Memorial Group.

The group's next annual general meeting is scheduled for January 2020.

Wick's Black Saturday victims commemorated 171 years on



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