After a long four years living in a homeless hostel, things started to look brighter for Plymouth fisherman Ian at the end of last year. It seemed to only get better when settled accommodation was found. On Christmas Eve 2022, Ian suffered a heart attack and was admitted to hospital. Helen Lovell, Mission Port Officer in Devon wrote about how we helped support Ian with the help of a wonderful community.

“Ian already had COPD when he was rescued from the sea by a crewmate in 2016. Unconscious for four days, the seawater he ingested aggravated his condition. Today, he can only walk a few steps and the heart attack made things worse. As Christmas came, I rallied support from around Brixham to get Ian’s flat furnished and we spent the festive period making it a home. Ian slowly recovered, and it meant everything to him to be able to return to his own home after being so poorly. We have also arranged a regular financial grant which will make Ian’s twilight years more comfortable.’

The community response was overwhelming, and this Is what Ian had to say:

“Getting stability in my life with somewhere to call home means everything. The help the Fishermen’s Mission gave me has been life-changing. I can’t thank them enough.”

Well established around the beautiful fishing ports of Devon, Helen is no stranger to fishing. Being born into a fishing family she has kept the tradition alive by marrying a Brixham fisherman. 2023 has started in dramatic fashion for Helen. Emergency incidents including fatalities at sea have come all too often.

“Dealing with emergency incidents alongside ongoing welfare cases is challenging. Understanding how fishermen operate is crucial. A good number of the crew here are migrant fishermen – mostly from Ghana. Through our ‘Fishing for Better Health Clinics,’ we were able to register them with a local GP. They can now access health care which is essential given the physicality of their jobs. Form filling is not easy for them, so we help out here as well. To us they are not just numbers in the system, they are human beings who need to know they will be cared for when difficulties arise.”

A group of Ghanain Fishermen in the yellow rest room, sitting around a desk with forms/

‘We were also joined by John from Prostrate Cancer UK who is pictured and two volunteers from ‘Read Easy‘ who were able to assist with form filling after a chilly walk around the quay. A lot of the vessels won’t be in until the weekend, but it was a good morning and hopefully the ‘brothers’ will be joining us at Church tonight for our Nine Lessons and Carols Service.’

The dedication shown by Helen in caring for her fishermen is matched by your dedication to our work. Thank you for your faithful support which enables us to provide financial, physical and welfare support for all fishermen and their families.