WEXFORD PAYS RESPECTS TO THE SEA AND ITS SEAFARERS AT ANNUAL MASS
WEXFORD paid due respects to the sea and its seafarers when the Friends of the Tallships held their annual mass at Bride Street Church.
Seven people were honoured with medals at the Seafarers' Mass:
Those honoured were Fergie Wickham, from Kilmore, well known in the RNLI family, with which he served for more than 50 years and for his service with the merchant navy;
Fergie was a crew member for Rosslare Harbour RNLI, from 1963 to 1987, second coxswain from 1987 to 1994, coxswain from 1994 to 1998 and subsequently deputy launching authority.
He has fished all his life out of Howth, Dunmore East and Rosslare and is well known as a builder of sailing cots.
Breda Roche, from Wexford town, and her son Declan who accepted the medal on behalf of her late husband James Roche who spent most of his life at sea and retired from the Irish Lights in 1978.
James Roche spent most of his life at sea, joining irish Lights in 1945 and being posted on many of the authority lightships around the coast. As a young man, his first job was in Pierces Foundry, but like many other young men in those days the sea and the promise of seeing foreign shores proved too great and temptaion to resist and he joined the Staffords's steamer, 'The Edenvale' in 1938, switching to 'The Menapia' in 1941 and serving on her until 1944.
Tom Reck, from Mulgannon, Wexford, for his own long service at sea.
Marie Walker, from Glenbrook, Wexford town, who received the medal on behalf of her brother Jim Reck, who worked for eight years on trawlers fishing out of Kilmore Quay and Howth. He worked on the cross channel ferries and also on the Japanese/Irish trawler, The Elm Fisher, out of Newfoundland.
Kathleen Campbell, from Wexford town, was presented with the medal on behalf of her late husband Dermot.
Frank O'Brien, from Wexford town, who received the medal on behalf of Bartholomew Rodgers who died at the Battle of Jutland in 1916 when the ship was sunk by a German cruiser.
Jonathan Gettings, from Wexford town, on behalf of his late cousin Francis Gettings who drowned when the 'MV Friso' - sank in a storm in the North Sea in the 1960s.
The Mass was conducted by Fr Michael O'Shea and the wreath laying was led by the Mayor Cllr Frank Staples on behalf of seafarers who had died at sea. The Wexford lifeboat took a wreath out to sea 'to be cast on the waters' and another wreath was laid at the Crescent Quay memorial.
Wexford Friends of the Tall Ships is a non-profit organisation based in Wexford Town. The purpose of the group is to help protect Wexford's maritime history as well as to help promote sail training.