I feel terrible asking for help

Posted on Monday 25th July 2016

“I feel terrible to be asking for help when there are many other people in a much worse situation than me, so I don’t mind if I don’t get any assistance.”

That was Christopher Anderson’s repeated comment when I visited him again to complete a form for grant to help him replace his worn out carpet, kitchen floor lining and some household goods that were in critical state of disrepair. I was especially saddened to hear that he could not prepare food as his electric cooker would often short circuit which was a danger both to him and to the house.
Christopher comes from a long line of fishermen who worked in and out of Fleetwood in this town’s heyday. In his hand, Christopher is holding a picture of another Christopher Anderson. The man he is named after. It is his uncle who died tragically in July 1930 at 20 years of age. The local Fylde News carried the story in its Friday , 25th July 1930 edition in which it said:

“News was received by wireless at Fleetwood on Friday afternoon of a tragedy on board the steam trawler ‘Daily Chronicle… how Anderson, a Bo’sun [sic] came to fall overboard was a mystery.”

The article goes on to highlight that the Daily Chronicle (trawler), fishing off Eagle Island, was not fitted with its own wireless and the message had to be dispatched via another trawler – ‘Wellvale’.
Talking to the nephew of that young lad who died some 85 years ago, I am struck by the strong current connection of these often sad memories to the past. But sadness is never how one is received during a visit. There is life in the stories I hear. But also, there is real poverty (financial poverty) which still predominates. We cannot address all the sadness, or the fears that go back with those tragic stories, and the loss of a local industry; but we can address other more immediate areas of need – a carpet, cooker, a bed. Should Christopher feel terrible for asking for help? My answer, as always: Chris, if we can do anything, we must at least try. Our attempt met the need, much more than our own expectation. Working with Shipwrecked Mariners Society and Seafarers Hospital Society on this instance, gave Christopher a smile, a precious smile!

Supt George Ayoma