I have actually written 2 blogs since my last published one on Great Grimsby, they are just awaiting verification. I am, however, extremely excited about the topic of this blog.
At 9am, Wednesday 18th April 2018, myself and best friend and fellow salmon slayer, Nicola Rowbotham will start the walk from my Fish Counter at Tesco Stoke, Newcastle Road to Flatfish Ltd, Sterling Street, Grimsby.
“Why on earth would you do that?!” You might ask, and to be fair I have asked myself. The answer is “The Fishermens Mission”. Ever since my friend, Mr James Portus, asked me to help out at The FishStock festival in Brixham 10th September 2016, I’ve been passionate about the Fishermens Mission and what it stands for.
When I attended the Fishermens Mission AGM in April last year, it really touched me on the lengths people go to to raise money for fishermen and their families all over the country.
As a fishmonger for Tesco, we proudly support Fish Friday, and as a company, raise money for the charity. But I wanted to do more. The idea of fundraising wouldn’t leave me alone and every Twitter or Facebook post I see from the Fishermens Mission just wanted me to finally do something.
But What Is A Girl From The Middle Of The Midlands To Do?
I am pretty much as far away from the British coast line as you can get and Stoke is known for being “the potteries”, an industrial city, built on the fame of names such Josiah Wedgwood and Spode. I do, however, love walking, so I’d always had the idea of attempting a walk, but how would I go about it? Which “willing weirdo” would want to walk with me? Where would we walk to? Would we get any support?
As much as I’d love to do a walk to Brixham fish market or Peterhead, it has to be little steps! So I sat and thought ‘where else could I walk to, where else means such a lot to me plus has fishing significance?’
Myself and my best friend, Nicola were in Grimsby for The Seafood Summit, and we also went to visit friends at Flatfish Ltd. In the course of our conversation with Mr Steven Stansfield, a thought occurred. How about walking from my fish counter in Stoke on Trent to Flatfish Ltd in Grimsby! Steven encouraged me to look up the distance between the two points on my maps, then split the distance down into 12 miles steps. I realised that at that moment, there was no going back. Tesco to Flatfish it is. So, who would want to walk with me?
Fellow Salmon Slayer
My best friend, Nicola, I knew would be my fellow willing weirdo! This past year, we have done nearly everything together, worked together, laughed together until our sides hurt and even cried together. There is no one I’d want to do this walk with more. Apart from loving our jobs, the fishing industry and being proud members of the National Federation Of Fishmongers, we are determined to the point of being stubborn sometimes. We don’t know the meaning of the phrase ‘giving up’. Plus, we can literally cry laughing at each other without saying anything. So who else would I want to walk 12 miles a day with? A second thought also occurred.
Would We Get Any Support?
I’ve become quite adept at using social media, following The Fishermens Mission on Twitter and Facebook, sharing my blogs and fish displays on Twitter, Facebook and even LinkedIn, so there is no escape! I placed a post on LinkedIn about plans for the walk and received so much support and direct messages it was heartwarming.
I received a message from Mr Steven Bloor, he’d help us as much as possible and we even met up! I have had other fish companies send me messages of support, and even had one send us wooly walking hats! The next day I had a package from the Mission containing t shirts, banner and badges! Absolutely no going back!! My friend Matthew has been plotting our map route, with the help of Dr Stephen Bloy nearer to Grimsby and my uncle David giving us plenty of walking advice, and as he had served as a Sgt in the army, given me lots of training and helped me beyond measure.
Ultimately, Why Do It?
Fishermen and their families need support.
I have written a previous, more detailed blog, solely around the Mission and the work they do. The fish which myself, Nicola and every single fishmonger in the country, display on our counters, prepare and sell is caught by fishermen. All you have to do is look on YouTube for trawlers in storms, or images of trawlers at sea, to get a feel for what they do.
Retired fishermen need support, families who have lost loved ones at sea deserve our support.
Both myself and Nicola love doing what we do as fishmongers. If it wasn’t for fishermen, we wouldn’t have out jobs. The UK is known for its fishing villages and towns as much as it is for the pottery industry in Staffordshire and textile industry and ship canal in Manchester. Whether we realise it or not, the fishing industry is and fishermen are important to us all. So maybe my question should be;
Why Shouldn’t We Walk From Stoke On Trent to Grimsby?
Check out The Fishermens Mission online and @thefishmish on Twitter.