Step closer to creating lasting memorial to fishermen

Sculptor Ray Lonsdale. Picture by Alison Spedding.
Sculptor Ray Lonsdale. Picture by Alison Spedding.

A project to create a lasting memorial has chosen the final design with efforts continuing to raise the necessary funds.

The North Shields Fishermen’s Heritage Project (NSFHP) is looking to create a memorial to fishermen lost at sea who had left the North Shields.

The chosen memorial 'The Fiddlers Green' by Ray Lonsdale.

The chosen memorial 'The Fiddlers Green' by Ray Lonsdale.

After a three month public vote featuring eight designs, the winner was announced as Fiddlers Green by sculptor Ray Lonsdale after securing 47 per cent of the votes.

Terry McDermott, chairman of NSFHP, said: “We are delighted that we had a clear winner, voted for by local people.

“The memorial will be a fitting tribute to those men who died at sea just doing their job and will be a prominent landmark on the fish quay for generations to come.”

According to the song of the same name, Fiddlers Green is the mythical place fishermen go to when they die, and the twice life-size sculpture, costing £72,000 will be sited on the foreshore at Clifford’s Fort.

Daren Persson hands over a cheque for �500 to Charlie Steel (left) and Terry McDermott.

Daren Persson hands over a cheque for �500 to Charlie Steel (left) and Terry McDermott.

Efforts are continuing to raise the necessary £75,000 – with more than £15,000 raised so far.

The fund-raising has been boosted by Daren Persson Funeral Services and Global Blackswan, who both donated £500; Gerry Beldon, from The Exchange Bar in North Shields, donating £400; and Ewan McCann, from The Three Kings Brewery, who donated £250 through sales of a sell-out test beer called Fiddlers Green.

Anyone who wants to make a donation should visit www.nsfhp.org.uk/donate or email nsfhproject@gmail.com

Keith Spedding, of NSFHP, said: “We are delighted that local businesses are getting on-board with our fund-raising.”

“We often refer to The Memorial as a piece of ‘destination art’ and our belief is that once it’s in place people from outside the area will travel to see it, just as they do with similar designs such as Seaham Tommy or the Angel of the North.

“We are confident that such a landmark piece of public art will provide a significant contribution to the regeneration of the Fish Quay area as well as being a fitting tribute to the many men who lost their lives at sea.”

For more on the project visit www.nsfhp.org.uk