Vigil for fishermen onboard sunken trawler

Vigil for fishermen onboard sunken trawler

A two-minute silence has been held for the crew of a trawler that capsized off the Sussex coast.

Hundreds gathered at Newhaven lifeboat station, which had joined the search for three fishermen who were onboard the Joanna C when it sank on Saturday.

The body of 26-year-old Adam Harper, from Brixham, Devon, was found by divers in the wreckage on Monday.

Robert Morley, 38, from Pembrokeshire, is still missing. Skipper Dave Bickerstaff was rescued on Saturday.

Rev Martin Miller, from St Michael’s Church in Newhaven, said Mr Morley’s parents, who joined the vigil, wanted to “say a big thank you to [Mr Bickerstaff] for his heroic efforts to do what he could to save them”.

He was found clinging to a buoy after spending up to two and half hours in the water.

Rev Miller led a round of applause for the emergency services and fellow fishermen who “without any thought for themselves searched on massively long shifts”.

Alex, a fisherman who had worked with the pair, addressed the crowd through a microphone.

“We all know what we do, we know the risks, but we still love it and we still do it,” he said. “If Rob and Adam were still here they’d be saying the same.”

He said he would “never ever forget” the time he had spent at sea with them, adding: “They will live on forever in all of us.”

The Newhaven lifeboat crew who rescued Mr Bickerstaff joined the vigil, and a nearby lookout tower was “floodlit to respect the lost fishermen, one of whom disliked the dark,” the National Coastwatch Institution said.

An online fundraising campaign to support the families has received more than £32,000 in donations.

Organiser Tony Rowe said he was “overwhelmed” by the response to the campaign from across the world.

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