independent

Saturday 21 September 2019

Lives lost at sea

THE ANNUAL memorial service to those lost at sea took place in St Peter's church, Kilmore Quay last Sunday with Fr Jim Cogley, parish priest of Oylegate, and Fr Denis Doyle, parish priest of Kilmore celebrating mass.

Every year the Memorial Garden Committee invites a person to speak at the event and this year the duty fell to Maimie Chapman.

Maimie has lived all her life by the sea and her family has been involved in the fishing industry for generations, giving her first hand experience of the joy, but also the tragedy that the sea can bring. She spoke of a number of tragedies which happened over the years, losing friends, neighbours and families who worked on fishing boats.

She worked as a part of the 'Loss' organisation for a number of years, providing support for families of fishermen who were lost at sea. 'I studied a three year course on bereavement counselling.' Maimie said, 'This gave me an insight into the depth of sorrow and pain that some people endure.

The sadness of some fishing tragedies are compounded even more when the remains of the deceased can't be found. You have to be part of a close knit fishing community to experience the dreadful sense of loss when there's a boat missing, feared lost.'

Maimie told those assembled of her worst experience, the loss of neighbour, school pal and close friend Pat Barry of Slade when the boat he was on, the 'Glenmalure' sank in November 1970. She said 'It was the most painful episode of my life and it took many moons to come to terms with his death.'

A wreath was then laid at the alter in memory of those who had lost their lives through drowning. The honour fell to Sam Williams who celebrated his 90th birthday this year and is now the sole survivour of the sinking of the light ship tender 'Isolda' in December 1940, in which seven of his friends lost their lives. A parade then took place, led by the Coastguard and Lifeboatmen, taking the wreath down to the Memorial Garden where it was laid in memory of those who had lost their

lives.

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