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Fishermen's lifeline charity needs urgent support

PUBLISHED: 15:00 31 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:31 06 July 2010

Tim Jenkins, Port Missioner for the Fishermans Mission at the launch of the new Festival of the Sea at Southwold last year.

Tim Jenkins, Port Missioner for the Fishermans Mission at the launch of the new Festival of the Sea at Southwold last year.

Amy Gray

It provides support for fishermen and their families in times of tragedy, but a charity has warned that it needs more donations to continue helping the region's seafaring communities past and present.

It provides support for fishermen and their families in times of tragedy, but a charity has warned that it needs more donations to continue helping the region's seafaring communities past and present.

The Fishermen's Mission offers financial and pastoral aid to the families and widows of fishermen and raises money to help those still bringing in a catch.

Superintendent Tim Jenkins, port missioner for East Anglia, said just £5,585 has been raised in the region so far this year - thousands short of fundraising and costs targets.

Last year, £155,000 was given to the Fishermen's Mission to help people in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, including grants from other maritime charities.

It was a record amount for the Mission, but things are not looking so good this year.

“We are the only national charity that looks after current and retired fishing communities. We are the only one,” said Mr Jenkins.

“We want to support the fishing industry as much as we can and there are still an awful lot of retired fishermen and fishermen's widows I don't know about.

“They really are brave and fishing is still the most dangerous industry in peacetime, and that's why we want to support them as best we can.

“We've had two disasters in the last 18 months and we have been supporting families through that time, and it's so important.”

One of those was the death of Golly Parker, a 54-year-old fisherman from Lowestoft whose body was found at a dock in Leigh-On-Sea, Essex, where he was working.

Mr Jenkins, who has been port missioner for three-and-a-half years, said there were still a dozen boats fishing out of Lowestoft - although they are never guaranteed a catch.

The Mission has launched a nationwide campaign to provide fishermen with oilskins, which act as an all-over buoyancy aid and cost £145 each.

One of last year's most successful fundraising events was the Festival of the Sea at Southwold Pier, enjoyed by thousands of visitors.

It raised about £5,000, but it is not going ahead this year, which has dealt another financial blow to the charity.

“It has been postponed this year to allow us to get some more sponsorship and build a more robust fundraising committee,” said Mr Jenkins.

“Last year went very well; it was the first time we had done that sort of event at Southwold Pier and there was a fantastic atmosphere.”

To donate to the charity or get in touch with Mr Jenkins, call 01502 565269, or email lowestoft@rnmdsf.org.uk. Visit www.fishermensmission.org.uk for more information.

The Fishermen's Mission is looking for adventurers from Norfolk and Suffolk to get involved in a fundraising trek up Mount Kilimanjaro in October.

Contact events manager Jude Bull on 0800 634 1020 to take part.

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