Broadcaster Edith joins fishing memorial campaign

Edith Bowman.
Edith Bowman.

A group hoping to erect a memorial to those who have died in the pursuit of fishing have announced two new high-profile patrons.

The Pittenweem Fishermen’s Memorial Association (PFMA) revealed that former MP for North East Fife Menzies Campbell, now Lord Campbell of Pittenweem, and broadcaster Edith Bowman have pledged their support.

The group was set up in 2016 with the aim of getting a memorial erected in Pittenweem, and has received donations and held fundraisers to help it achieve that goal.

Edith, originally from Anstruther, described the cause as something “close to my heart”.

She said: “It’s an honour to be asked to support such a fantastic local cause and become a patron of the Pittenweem Fishermen’s Memorial Association. It’s something very close to my heart.

“My great grandfather Alexander Lesley Bowman was a fisherman in Pittenweem and when he retired went on to mend nets. His father, William Bowman, was the auctioneer at the fish market in Pittenweem.

“I spent most of my weekends from age naught in Pittenweem with my grandfather, regularly spending time with family in and around the harbour. I look forward to lending my time to all the wonderful plans to support the PFMA.”

The group plans to increase its fundraising activity in 2018, as it edges closer to its goal of collecting the £75,000 needed to erect the memorial.

Lord Campbell said: “I fully support the purpose of the PFMA to commission and erect a memorial to those from the community who have lost their lives and those whose lives have been materially changed by the hazards of the fishing industry.

“Many communities have similar memorials, and it is right and proper that Pittenweem should have the same.

“This is one of the last working fishing villages in Scotland, and it is steeped in history, with one of the earliest references to fishing and the village being from the 16th century.”

Chairman of the PFMA and retired skipper, Ronnie Hughes, said the group was “overwhelmed” that Lord Campbell and Ms Bowman had agreed to become patrons.

He said: “The support we have had from the community, industry and corporate partners has been incredible, and we’re overwhelmed both Lord Campbell and Edith have agreed to become patrons.

“Their backing will be invaluable in raising awareness of our cause and will help us spread the word of what we are trying to achieve and why.”

“There’s still a long way to go yet to reach our target, but we’re off to a great start with incredible support and interest from everyone we speak to. There’s lots planned for 2018 and we look forward to sharing our story and plans with as many people as possible as we continue to raise the funds needed.

“The memorial will be a tribute to those who have lost their lives and the families who had to carry on after such tragic circumstances.”

Pittenweem has a long history with fishing, and in the late 19th century the East Neuk harbours played a large part in the Scottish herring fishery being the largest fishery in the world.

For more information about the project or to donate , visit http://www.pittenweem-fishermens-memorial.net/how-to-donate.