Boston a Haven for Fishermen

Posted on Monday 11th March 2019

Welcome to Boston, Lincolnshire. The River Witham flows into the tidal River Haven before completing the six-mile journey to the sea. This natural confluence has been home for fishermen for over 1,000 years. Today Boston hosts around 26 boats, landing their catch of cockles, mussels and shrimp.

With significant numbers of active and retired fishermen in the area, the Fishermen’s Mission came to Boston in March 2015. Working three days a week, Boston Superintendent Suesan Brown tells us the motivation behind her work,

“Boston Fishermen are proud folk, spending their lives in the harshest conditions to earn a crust for their families. It is only right that we are there for them when life is difficult.”

Suesan cares for a growing number of beneficiaries but always recalls meeting Keith,

“The first words Keith said to me were ‘I wish I’d never retired from fishing!’ His washing machine had broken and along with other appliances, it was in dire need of replacement. We filled in a grant application over a cuppa and Keith began telling me tales of his old fishing days. He then spoke of how much he missed his wife who had passed away. It’s so important for me to sit and listen, to pray and laugh, and to cherish the memories that Keith shares. Our care may start with a broken appliance but soon becomes life changing for someone like Keith”.

Another retired Boston fisherman, Johnny “Cockles”, contacted Suesan as ill health meant he was struggling to sleep. After organising a new bed and support mattress to ease Johnny’s back pain, life appeared to improve. But for Johnny, the real issue was loneliness and isolation. Suesan gently encouraged and coaxed him to look for a life outside of his flat. A while later she received a call from a very happy Johnny. He had met up with some old fishing friends and was living life again!

Boston has a rich fishing heritage. Work is nearing completion on a carved wooden memorial to the lost fishermen who sailed from Boston. The memorial will be a focal point for future Services of Remembrance in the town.