Community rallies to honour lost fishermen

A fishing community is coming together to remember a group of men who lost their lives at sea.

James Noble and two of his Filipino crew – Jonito Antonio Jr and Michael Pupul – died when the trawler Ocean Way sank off the Northumberland coast last November.

James was the kindest man you’d ever meet and he made me so happy. I just don’t want him, Michael and Jonito to be forgotten.

Julie Myhill

Now James’ fiancée Julie Myhill is holding a charity event in their memory to help raise funds for other fishermen and their families.

Julie, of Throckley, said: “I still cry every day. James was the kindest man you’d ever meet and he made me so happy. I just don’t want him, Michael and Jonito to be forgotten.”

Peter Dade, of the Fishermen’s Mission in North Shields, said: “James always had a smile for everyone on the Fish Quay and he was very popular. I hope people will join us in celebrating his life and creating a lasting legacy for him and his crew.”

Julie added: “It was a year on Mothers’ Day that he got down on one knee with a massive bouquet of different coloured flowers and asked me to marry him.

“I lost my husband 11 years ago and I thought I would never marry again as he was the love of my life. But meeting James changed all that and I thought I’d been given a second chance.

“He loved Tyneside and he wanted to make his life here. Everyone really took to him. You know the risk when they go out to sea, but I just never expected it to happen.”

Although an official investigation into the cause of the accident has not been concluded, the two surviving crew have told Julie about what they remember of that night and believe a freak wave to have been the cause.

The vessel took on water and sank in minutes.

“They said it happened so quickly,” Julie said. “James came in and got them all out of bed. The boat had taken on too much water and just sank instantly.”

The charity night will take place at the Tyneside Irish Centre on May 22 the day after what would have been James’ birthday.

Julie has also set up a fundraising page and hopes the local community will help support the event.

All funds raised will be split between the two organisations that helped in this tragic accident – the Fishermen’s Mission North Shields and Boulmer volunteer rescue service.

For more information or to help support the event visit http://www.gofundme.com/james-noble