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Peterhead fishermen turn out at harbour to pay respects ahead of funeral of legendary skipper James West

James West's funeral procession drives past some of the family's fishing boats at Peterhead Harbour. 

Picture by Kenny Elrick     02/02/2021
James West's funeral procession drives past some of the family's fishing boats at Peterhead Harbour. Picture by Kenny Elrick 02/02/2021

The north-east fishing community has paid their final respects to one of the sector’s leading lights.

More than 100 friends and fellow fishermen lined the route around Peterhead harbour as ex-skipper James West’s funeral cortege took him on one last drive through the port where he spent such a large part of his life.

The West family’s boats – Fruitful Bough, Golden Sceptre, Forever Faithful and Westro – were lined up along the quay as the hearse passed.

Superintendent Steve Murray of Peterhead Mission spoke of Mr West having now taken his “final voyage”.

In a service which took place before limited family members at Almanythie Hall, but was shared with hundreds more over the internet, he paid tribute to the father-of-five.

Mr Murray said: “James had wisdom and integrity and was someone you could trust.

“He was proud of his family and their achievements at sea, work and home.

“He was never happier than helping out with their boats or with his 10 grandchildren in practical ways, but was also there to offer advice and spiritual council too.”

James West’s funeral procession drives past some of the family’s fishing boats at Peterhead Harbour.<br />Picture by Kenny Elrick

Mr West began his time at sea aged just 15, but settled on shore after the sudden death of his wife Margaret  in 1995 left him with a young family to raise.

He watched four of his sons follow in his footsteps at sea, though, and bought himself a small creel boat which he named Be Ready after his own father’s boat.

“This was not only the name of a boat to James,” Mr Murray added.

“Be Ready was also a statement. A way or wearing his faith on his sleeve.

“Down at the harbour there’s a small red and yellow vessel lying at its berth, PD 902 Be Ready. It won’t be going out today.

“A week past Sunday James let his mooring rope slip for the last time and headed off on a voyage to a far off shore.

“This time the vessel was ready and he has arrived and is safely anchored.”

Mr West died at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary with his family by his side after taking unwell with severe pancreatitis.

His funeral can be viewed on Robert Mackie funeral directors’ page on YouTube.

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