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PURBECK ISLE TRAGEDY: Floral tributes line Weymouth harbour
POIGNANT floral tributes have been left on Weymouth harbourside as people pay their respects and struggle to come to terms with the Purbeck Isle tragedy.
Civic leaders said the town was feeling shock and sadness at the loss of the three local fishermen, David McFarlane, Jack Craig and Robert Prowse.
They said it was early days to consider a lasting tribute to the men but would be investigating what could be done in the town to remember them.
Pubs are holding collections in the town in memory of the crew.
Money for ‘Farley and Crew’ is building up at the George Inn on Custom House Quay and a collection will be launched today for charities including the RNLI at the Kings Arms in Trinity Road where David was a regular.
Kings Arms landlord Pete Whittle said Mr McFarlane was well known to staff and customers and his death had hit everyone hard.
Vicar of Holy Trinity Church on the harbourside The Rt Rev Canon Richard Franklin, who is also chaplain of RNLI Weymouth Lifeboat Station, held a two-minute silence during a service yesterday and said prayers for the lost crew.
People are invited to the church this week to light a candle in their memory.
The annual service for Weymouth Lifeboat Week to be held at the station on Nothe Parade this Sunday at 7.30pm will be extra poignant and people are invited to attend.
Weymouth Lifeboat was one of three lifeboats launched to search for the Purbeck Isle over the last few days.
Mr Franklin said: “The town has suffered individual fatalities at sea over the years but to have three lost at the same time is particularly overwhelming.
“From talking to people at the harbourside and at church over the weekend the feeling in the town is one of shock and sadness.
“We have said prayers for the fishermen and also for their families who need our support at this difficult time.
“I have spoken to vicars from other churches and we would like to let the families know we are there for them if they need us although we wouldn’t want to impose. I have also been liaising with the Superinten-dent of the Fishermen’s Mission who is keen to offer support.
“It is a very sad time and we will do all we can to support people. The community is in shock but there’s a sense of pulling together.”
Rector of All Saints at Wyke Regis The Rev Deb Smith said: “We lit candles and said prayers for the crewmembers yesterday.
“At all the services I took the crew and their families were in our minds and hearts.
“Everyone wanted to remember them and pray for their families and the fishing community.”
The Mayor and Mayoress of Weymouth and Portland Graham Winter and Mary Jordan-Winter were among those laying flowers on the harbour wall close to the Purbeck Isle’s usual mooring.
A card accompanying the flowers read: “Our hearts go out to all the families and friends involved in this terrible tragedy.
“Please draw strength at this awful time from all the love and support of people here in Weymouth.
“We are all aware of the dangers of fishing but never expected such a sad time for our town. With love and support.”
Mr Winter said: “When you have a tragedy like this it affects the whole town. Seeing the flowers being laid and the tributes that have been paid, it is so moving.
“It brings the community together because we all feel the shock.
“The impact on the town is so great and it reminds us of just how dangerous fishing can be.”
Mr Winter said it was too early to talk of any tribute but he said anything that would be done would need input from the families.
He led a minute’s silence before the start of the Race for Equality event on Saturday at the Pavilion as it was his first civic engagement since the tragedy.
South Dorset MP Richard Drax said: “My condolences and sympathies go out to the families involved in this tragic accident.
“The loss of these three men only reminds us all too clearly of the dangers at sea and the courage and dedication required by our fishermen to bring our food to the table.”