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Tributes to Scots fisherman who died after tragic accident at sea

Heartfelt tributes have been paid to a ‘hugely respected and well liked’ Scots fisherman after his death in a tragic accident at sea.

John Wilson died after going overboard while out hunting white fish and prawns off the east coast on Saturday, August 27.

Aberdeen Coastguard were altered and a huge search until the 64-year-old was found by a fellow fisherman.

He was taken by helicopter to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where he tragically died.

John was well known in his community- having started his life at sea aged just 15 – and was heavily involved with the St Abbs Lifeboat based near Eyemouth in the Scottish Borders for more than 40 years.


In a tribute to the man known lovingly as ‘Johnny Hook’, bosses at the St Abbs station said they had ‘lost one of their own’ and thanked emergency services for their help.

A statement issued today read: “It is with the heaviest of hearts that St Abbs Lifeboat marks the passing of one of her longest serving, and most respected crew members.

“John Wilson has fished these waters all his life from the age of 15. Going to sea originally on his dads creel boat, John moved to white fish and prawns, reverting back to creel fishing out of St Abbs from his own boat, the “Harriet J” around nine years ago.

“On Saturday 27th of August, Aberdeen Coastguard were alerted to reports of a fisherman having fallen overboard.

A huge multi-agency search was triggered, and following the location of the casualty by a fellow fisherman, St Abbs Lifeboat was quickly on scene.

“The casualty was transferred by helicopter to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, from where, despite the best efforts of all involved, it was tragically confirmed that it wasn’t the outcome everyone had hoped for.”

The statement adds that his knowledge of the sea and ‘long and selfless service’ made him popular.

It adds: “John Wilson, Johnny, also known affectionately as “Johnny Hook” served St Abbs Lifeboat with distinction for over 40 years, as winch-man and valued member of the shore crew, becoming a Deputy Launch Authority following the establishment of the Independent Service.

“John’s knowledge of the sea, and commitment, allied to his long and selfless service to the lifeboat meant that he was made one of our 2 joint Lifeboat Operations Managers a couple of years ago. An obvious and popular choice.

“John is a direct descendent of one of the first Cox on St Abbs Lifeboat back in 1911, and it was a rare shout or exercise that John missed over the 40 years, his ready smile and jokes seeing many through difficult times.

“Having an easy way with friends and strangers alike, Johnny was hugely respected and well liked on this coastline and beyond, and much loved by his family.

“St Abbs has lost one of its finest, and St Abbs Lifeboat has lost one of her own.

“Everyone at St Abbs Lifeboat, and John’s family, would like to thank everyone who helped in the search for John. All the local fishing boats who joined the search, all the leisure boats, Babcock SAR helicopter crew, Police Scotland, the crews from RNLI Eyemouth Lifeboat and RNLI Dunbar Lifeboats as well as our local Coastguard teams. Thank you all.

“Fair winds and following seas John.”



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