Sunday, 7 December 2008


In all the stupid psychological tests I had to undertake as I climbed the slippery pole of leadership when in my career in Local Government, there was never much change in their analysis - Talkative (school reports always said that all those years ago!!), friendly, makes decisions, good team player etc etc....... reflective!! It's the reflective bit I want to talk about this evening as yet another week draws to a close.

I wasn't sure I should or would talk about this in my blog - but on reflection I think it right and proper to talk about the tragedy that befell my newly adopted town. That being the loss of a young local fisherman.

In our lives we take so much for granted - especially in this age of 'want it now - got it now' and like so many I am hugely guilty of that. Since I've been here in Salcombe, I've consistently chatted on about the area being so beautiful, the view of the sea, fabulous produce etc, yet not really giving huge thought as to how that produce gets to our plates - in particular the fish.

I've watched the boats going past our window and out to sea in all weathers, walked down by the quay and watched them unloading their catch and marvelled at the smells and the sounds. But this week really bought home to me the potential danger that these men put themselves in to get fish or crab on to our plates. A young man of 31 - Nick Atfield was killed in a truly tragic accident after having been out at sea getting the catch of the day and then unloading the boat of its catch, a job he had done for many years, and which countless other fisherman do every day - it's not necessary to go into the awful details.

Now I don't believe I ever met Nick, but he has been spoken about with real affection by his colleagues, other fishermen and townspeople who knew him. It has made me acutely aware that there is far more to my new life other than the views and our profit margins, and tonight, as I watched a fishing boat go out of the harbour I wished them silently a peaceful journey and a safe return.

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