Cash boost for fishermen's project

A project to create a lasting memorial to fishermen lost at sea has received more financial backing.

Thursday, 1st December 2016, 10:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 12:04 pm
Keith Spedding, Henry Howard, Joyce Marti and Terry McDermott. Picture by Alison Spedding.

The North Shields Fishermen’s Heritage Project (NSFHP) is looking to raise £60,000 for a Fiddler’s Green memorial on North Shields Fish Quay to honour those lost at sea.

Artwork has been drawn up for the planned memorial, with financial support continuing to gain momentum.

William Oliver & Rodman Russell Ltd's Amanda Burbridge and Paul Barbrook present their cheque to NSFHP Chairman Terry McDermott. Picture by Alison Spedding.

An application to the Sir James Knott Trust for £5,000 has been successful while there have been donations from local businesses The Hadrian Trust, Release Potential and William Oliver & Rodman Russell Ltd.

Terry McDermott, chairman of NSFHP, said “We are delighted with the donation from The Sir James Knott Trust. It’s given us a real boost to our fund-raising.

“We now have over £23,000 so we are about a third of the way there, and have a busy events schedule planned for 2017.”

Keith Spedding, fund-raiser and project leader, said: “We have had an enormous amount of support from the local community, and businesses are now stepping forward to help as well.

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

“NSFHP are grateful to Frank Gillender and Elizabeth Grace at VODA for helping guide us through the grant application process, and securing £7,500 of grants so far from the RW Mann Trust, the Hadrian Trust and now The Sir James Knott Trust.”

Anyone who would like to make a donation should visit

Local poet Michael McCarthy has pledged his support by donating the profits from his latest book Proppa Geordie Poyems vol 2.

Michael, whose great grandfather was a fisherman and lost his life at sea, said: “Bearing in mind my own families fishing heritage, there was no way I couldn’t get involved to help the NSFHP.”

Sculptor Ray Lonsdale.

Michael’s book is launched today (Thursday) on the anniversary of the death of his great grandfather, Andrew Kinnear.

The trawler, Steam Trawler Ethelwulf (SN344), was blown up just after the First World War by a mine and became enveloped in flames. At aged just 49, deck hand Andrew Kinnear died alongside the rest of the crew.

Michael added: “The chosen design of Fiddlers Green is a really popular choice – it looks like a ‘proppa fisherman doon on wor quay’. I am very proud to do my bit to help NSFHP and make this memorial happen soon.”

Michael has written and dedicated a poem for The North Shields Fishermen’s Heritage Project – called “Wor Fishermen’s Memorial

William Oliver & Rodman Russell Ltd's Amanda Burbridge and Paul Barbrook present their cheque to NSFHP Chairman Terry McDermott. Picture by Alison Spedding.

North Shields has a hist’ry, o’ sendin’ boats te sea,

Te fish wor Northern watters from it’s famous, ancient quay,

Where at its peak the Tyne was full, wi croods o’ vessels moored,

Te harvest massive silvah shoals, employment was assured.

The herrin’ brought wuh riches, wor toon grew at a pace,

The market bulged wi’ boxes, o’ haddock, cod an’ plaice.

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

So North Shields was a fishin’ toon, o’ that there is nee doot,

Though other trades supported it, it was the main pursuit.

An’ noo wor North Sea’s ahll fished oot, it’s prawns that are the catch,

The major British landin’ port, which neewhere else can match.

Through ahll those years wor fishermen have ventured far an wide,

A heritage wuh must protect, wi’ rightful local pride,

Rememberin’ those whee lost their lives, in catchin’ ahll those fish,

Remindin’ wuh that fav’rite fare can be a costly dish.

So noo at last on wor quayside, a memorial will stand,

In honour o’ those hardy men, from Skipper te Deck Hand,

Whee sailed away unknowin’… thuh’d see North Shields nee mair,

As fam’lies waited ahll in vain, in sorrow an’ in prayer.

Me Grandma lost her Faither when his boat trawled up a mine,

Nee bodies foond te bury, nee marker te define,

A focus fer their grief, nee place te mark thuh’re fate,

So many men lost through the years, but noo wuh can donate,

Te build a new memorial, a fittin’ tribute there,

Te show what wor community can dee, because wuh care..

So help wuz oot, ah hev nee doot, that soon wuh’ll come te see,

That overdue memorial, stood proud beside wor Quay…

The book is priced £7.50 and is available from Greetings Cards, Percy Park Road, Tynemouth and The Word in South Shields.

Sculptor Ray Lonsdale.