Carried on the tide…
I was “on a mission” to find and help fishermen and their families, combing the harbours of the North East coast between Seahouses and Port Seton, taking in Eyemouth, St Abbs and Dunbar. Along this stretch of coastline 150 fishing boats land their lobster, langoustine, crab and whelks. Each of the communities I serve are small, close-knit neighbourhoods with a strong and long-standing fishing tradition.
My quest is to reach out to fishermen in their environment, becoming a trusted fishermen’s friend. This might be at the quayside, their boat, the park bench, the local Men’s Shed or their own home. Needs vary from providing warm clothing or a replacement cooker to helping with benefit claims. We might pay for fuel or rent because rhe fishing has been non-existent. I also conduct funerals and comfort the bereaved and lonely.
Reg is a retired fisherman living in Eyemouth. His health is not the best and his living accommodation was unsafe and entirely unsuitable. I’ve acted as Reg’s advocate with his GP, social services and housing authorities. Reg’s ‘boast came in’ when I secured a more suitable home for him and applied for welfare benefits; Reg says his health and quality of life have been transformed, he feels safe and cared for.
Reg remembers the old Fishermen’s Mission building in Eyemouth and the popular tradition of Sunday Nightcap which continues to the present day at the Eyemouth United Church hall. Nearly 40 years on, this group have remained faithful supporters of work in Eyemouth. Sunday Nightcap follow a traditional pattern of favourite hymns, prayer and thought-provoking talk. Every Sunday the group take an offering, raising funds for the Fishermen’s Mission. In the last 18 months these generous friends of our work have raised almost £10,000.
The spirit of the Nightcap and my service to those I meet is summed up in the words of the great hymn:
“Blessed be the tie that binds, our hearts in Christian love,
The fellowship of kindred minds, Is like to that above.”