Royal couple meet relatives of lost fishermen –

Royal couple meet relatives of lost fishermen Published:  01 June, 2007

THE Prince of Wales and Camilla this week met the grieving families of fishermen drowned at sea.

The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay, as they are known in Scotland, had the emotional meeting during a visit to the fishing village of Anstruther in Fife.

The close-knit community has lost a number of its sons to storm-tossed seas over the years and the Royal couple met relatives bereaved in two of the most recent tragedies.

Four people died last October when the Anstruther-based Meridian disappeared during severe weather.

And in December, John Bowman, skipper of the Fife-based Unity, was lost off the Dorset coast when his vessel capsized.

Charles and Camilla visited the Scottish Fisheries Museum in the town where they met family members from both tragedies.

Julia Gardner, wife of Meridian skipper Martin Gardner, and Eleanor Gardner, wife of crew member Edward Gardner, were joined by Kelly Collinson, the daughter of another victim, Sid Low.

All three men, along with another crew member, Ian Donald, were drowned when the Meridian went missing in the North Sea. Only the body of Edward Gardner was recovered.

The Royal couple also met the family of Mr Bowman and two crew members who survived the Unity’s sinking, Graham Hughes and Fergus Middleton.

Charles and Camilla shared a moment of prayer with the relatives and survivors in the memorial room of the museum, where dozens of mounted bronze plaques on the wall list the names of fishermen from the town lost at sea over the years.

The sombre meeting came just before the couple visited an RNLI lifeboat station and saw one of the emergency service’s vessels launched for a live rescue.

A Clarence House spokeswoman said: “Their Royal Highnesses were touched to be asked to come and meet the families of two relatively recent tragedies at sea.

“They spent a few minutes talking privately with families and there was a short prayer for the immediate families which their Royal Highnesses took part in before meeting other relatives.

“Their Royal Highnesses were fascinated by their visit to the museum and of course to meet with so many involved in the fishing community.” is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.