Agroup of retired Whitby fishermen with a combined experience of 500 years at sea have gathered to celebrate, share their memories and remember their heroic days.
The sea-seafaring heroes and their families were invited to the special event which is the first time ever in the town’s history that fishermen and their families have all been brought together in one place,. It was organised by one of Whitby’s leading seafood restaurants, the Fishermans Wife, which is based at Khyber Pass.
The event, on Tuesday, 11th October, which saw a beautiful performance by Whitby Community Choir, was also tied in with National Seafood Week which started on Friday, 7th October and ran until, Friday, 14th October.
Over delicious fish,chips and mushy peas, the specially invited guests, who have a combined experience of more than 500 years in the fishing industry, shared their old photographs of life at sea when Whitby was one of the country’s biggest fishing ports.
It was also a day when everyone could re-connect with former fellow fishermen and meet new people from the local community.
Ronnie Frampton, 83, who fished for more than 60 years, is one of Whitby’s most popular and well known retired fishermen and worked for the local RNLI lifeboat station after his fishing days.
Ronnie said: “This a brilliant day to meet everyone who’s been at sea for a long time. Our fishing days were tough at sea, but it’s in our blood. Days like today are what the town needs. I’ve had a fantastic time.”
Michael Locker, fisherman and cousin of Arnold Locker – owner of Whitby’s leading trawling companies, joined in on the celebrations along with town’s greatest seafaring characters.
And it wasn’t all about the men. As the saying goes, behind every great man there’s a great woman! So the fisherman’s wives were out in full force. You’ve heard about the Real Housewives of Beverley Hills, but they had nothing on the Real Fishermans Wives of Whitby!
Whitby’s Mayor Cllr. Mrs Noreen Wilson, attended the event. She said: ““A real sense of community spirit has been shown today. It’s been really wonderful to listen to all the fishermens’ stories about their life at sea in Whitby…and the fish and chips were fantastic!”
Members of Whitby’s lifeboat station also attended along with Janet Deacon, North Yorkshire and Coast Area Director for Welcome to Yorkshire and Julie Snowden, from Seafish – organisers of Seafood Week.
She said: “Great to see so much support for National Seafood week around the UK. Today was a wonderful showcase of the nation’s favourite – fish and chips at the Fisherman’s Wife whilst overlooking The North Sea where many of our fishermen endure tough conditions in order to bring this magnificent seafood back to our plates to enjoy.”
Graham Reed-Stephenson, owner of the Fishermans Wife said: “While the fishing industry has faced many challenges, and is definitely smaller than it once was, it remains at the very heart of the town and Whitby seafood is still considered some of the best in the world. We felt it was about time we celebrated the achievements of these families and thanked them for their hundreds of years of service to the town.”