Those that go down to the sea …

The wreck of HMY Iolaire, Stornaway

The search for a yachtsmen off the Sussex coast last night, sparked by an empty yacht which drifted into Brighton Marina has resumed again this morning. It is an activity which is affecting the family of the yachtsman and his or her friends, others that he or she sailed with and the sacrificial volunteers from RNLI and the Police and other emergency services. The impact on the wider community will have been a great deal less but all of us who live on the coast are aware of how easy it is for the water which laps at the shore some of the time, to take precious lives at others. I recall the terrible tragedy of a good friend of mine, Fran McKeown whose walk down to the beach near Hastings on 1st January 2013 ended up in her death. On Saturday the Guardian included this piece about 205 men who lost their lives on 1st January 1919, returning home from France and the Western Front. They died some 20 feet from Stornoway Harbour, many miles from the War that they had fought in, and which had ended nearly 2 months earlier. The islands of Lewis and Harris do not have large populations and the loss of 205 men at the end of hostilities was particularly tragic. Let us hope that the yachtsman or woman currently being sought is found safe, and the emergency services can return to their usual duties. Whatever the impact on his or her family will be immense. Perhaps as we remember the Armistice tomorrow, we will also spare a moment or two for the 205 lives lost 20ft from their homes nearly 96 years ago. I am also thinking about my wonderful friend Fran (or Frances) and her family.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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