Prayers and wishes for Brixham fishermen lost at sea

Wishes, prayers and tributes have been shared across coastal communities today as two Brixham fishermen remain missing at sea.

The families of two men have expressed their wishes for a miracle to them bring back home.

Three men were aboard the 45-foot scalloping vessel from Brixham, named the Joanna C, when it sank just off Newhaven in East Sussex in the early hours of yesterday morning (November 21).

One man was found clinging to a lifebuoy. He was recovered from the water by the Newhaven lifeboat and transferred to hospital.

Adam Harper, 26, and Robert Morley, 38, are still missing despite an extensive search, which included several lifeboat and helicopter crews, as well as fishing vessels from the local area.

At one point during the search, the Coastguard says it was coordinating as many as 14 sea vessels. It was halted overnight and resumed today, before coming to an end again at around 2:30pm.

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Speaking with The Sun today, Mr Morley’s mum said her son is believed to have lost hold of a safety ring he’d been clinging to with his friend and skipper, Dave Bickerstaff, 34, who was rescued from the water.

Fisherman Robert Morley next to a smashed window onboard of Golden Promise at the Brixham Harbour in Devon, which was smashed by a rock thrown by french fishermen. Robert was onboard at the time of the attack. 29/08/2018 See SWNS story SWSCALLOPS; French fishermen have been accused of throwing insults, rocks and smoke bombs at their British rivals in the English Channel in a vicious scrap over scallops. The clash happened around 12 nautical miles (22km) off the Normandy coast, near the Bay of Seine. British boats are legally entitled to fish in the scallop-rich area.
Fisherman Robert Morley is still missing after his fishing vessel sank off the coast of Newhaven, East Sussex
(Image: SWNS)

Ms Woolford told The Sun: “Someone said something about a freak wave had hit it and knocked it over.”

She said Mr Bickerstaff survived, and told how he resuscitated her son after he went “blue”, but that he had lost him moments later as they clung to the life ring.

She said: “Dave’s ok. He was the one that told us Robert went under and he got him back up, and he went down again and Dave lost him.

“He tried to give him mouth to mouth apparently and then got him back round, in the water.

Candles are being lit in the hope the two fisherman return home safely
(Image: Sian Danielle)

“He did say he had the ring and Robert got cold really quick when he went in the water and then apparently he just saw him drift.

“He turned round and when he looked back Robert was gone.”

The Mirror also reported a message posted to Facebook by Mr Steve Walters, who is understood to be the father of Adam Harper.

The message read: ““I would like to send all my love, heart and wishes to Rob’s family.

A Brixham police officer looks at the tributes laid in the town today
(Image: Brixham Police)

“This is a very tearful moment for both families still hoping for two miracles to happen.

“It is time to come home to your families now lads.

“If anybody knows of Rob’s family, can you share this to them for me?

“Much love to everyone and stay safe lads for those at sea.”

The heartbroken residents of Brixham have been lighting candles throughout the search, with some leaving cards and flowers beside the well-known Man and Boy statue in the town.

Brixham Scalloper Joanna C transformed after major refit in 2019
(Image: Martin Johns/Fishing News)

The community is holding onto hope that both Adam Harper and Robert Morley will make it home.

Among them was Sian Danielle who said: “I’m just so touched at how Brixham as a community pulls together. The love and warmth that comes together at times like this is beautiful.

“It’s a very emotional weekend for many people in Brixham and all we can do is pull together, and pray that they are found and returned to their families.

“Brixham community will continue to light candles and support each other no matter what it takes.”

Another resident, who visited the statue today, said: “It is just nice to see that the Brixham community can pull together and support the local fishermen and their families at such an awful time.”

Exmouth Coastguard and Rescue Team posted a candle tribute on its Facebook page stating: “For those lost at sea from the Joanna C and the Brixham fishing community.”

Candles, flowers and cards for the missing fisherman at the Man and Boy statue in Brixham
(Image: Harriet May)

A fundraising campaign has since been launched by a previous owner of the Joanna C, to raise funds for all those affected.

It was started on GoFundMe this morning and has so far raised £8,519 in just 11 hours.

The target was £1000.

Tony Rowe, a 40-year-old fisherman from Brixham, was at sea for 10 years, owning the Joanna C vessel for around five – up until 2006.

He was shocked to hear of the news and to discover the boat was one he had previously owned.

He said: “”It was quite surreal when I heard the news yesterday, and that the boat I owned and went to sea on and lived on was gone. I am just praying they find the missing two crew.

“I didn’t personally know them, but last night I lit a candle for them. Fishing is a dangerous job and it’s a times like these you realise the true value of fish.

“”You can see from social media and just looking outside my window how much of an impact it has had on everyone, not just the local community but those who visit Brixham.

“I’m raising money in aid of The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen so they can distribute to help all those affected.

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

“The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen provide emergency support and practical, financial, emotional and spiritual support to fishermen and their families.”

To make a donation click here.

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