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PURBECK ISLE TRAGEDY: Tributes paid to skipper David McFarlane
FAMILY and friends paid tribute to a hard working Weymouth fisherman and loving family man who was a “legend and a role model who was always smiling”.
The family of Purbeck Isle skipper David McFarlane, 35, said they loved and missed him.
David’s body was recovered from the sea off Portland on Friday.
David’s father Colin McFarlane said the family were devastated.
He said David was a hard worker and ever since he was young he had worked on boats, often travelling away for weeks at a time.
He worked out of Teignmouth in Devon for years, fishing in different places including off France, Holland and the Channel Islands.
He also skippered several Wey-mouth boats and built up a reputation as a great skipper before taking on the Purbeck Isle for himself at the end of 2010.
After the Purbeck Isle was rescued by a lifeboat when it lost rudder control in January 2011, his family said David spent ‘thousands of pounds’ making improvements to the boat.
Mr McFarlane said: “He wanted that boat to be the best it could be.”
He added that David was safety conscious in all he did and went beyond the recommendations made by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, including making improvements like putting up baffle boards on the side so the crew were protected from spray and cross-winds.
His family said David loved life, was ‘100 per cent family orientated’ and loved sports including surfing and windsurfing.
Mr McFarlane said: “He enjoyed life to the full, he really did.”
David leaves behind his partner of 17 years Vicky Huntley and their three daughters Bethany Huntley, 16, Caitlin Huntley, 13, and four-year-old Hope McFarlane-Huntley.
David’s mum Grace said he adored his girls. She said: “You couldn’t wish for a better father for the children.”
She added that David could make her laugh just by giving her a look.
Vicky said she missed and loved him very much.
She added that she would like to get a bench put at Chesil Cove, Portland, in David’s memory.
Bethany said: “I’m going to try and do everything for my family, for my dad. I love him and will never forget him.”
Caitlin said she would remember the pair’s Friday night movie nights.
David’s niece Katie McFarlane said: “He was always smiling, when you were around him you couldn’t not smile.”
She added: “I love him very much and miss him.”
David’s nephew Mark Adams, 21, said: “He was the best you could ask for in an uncle. He was the perfect role model. He was the person everyone should be.”
His brother Steven McFarlane said that his brother was a ‘legend’ who would do anything for anybody. He said: “He would help anybody.”
David’s niece Sophie Hillier said: “He’s greatly missed but never forgotten and forever loved. RIP Uncle David.”
David’s sister Elaine McFarlane said: “Was loved, is loved, always loved. Greatly missed – never forgotten. RIP big little bro.”
Friend Zoe Alway said everyone loved and missed him and that David would always be in their hearts.
'He loved the sea'
COLIN McFarlane said that David’s family’s thoughts were with the families and friends of crewmen Robert Prowse, 20, and Jack Craig, 22, who have not been found.
He said: “Our hearts and feelings and thoughts go out to the other families. I hope they get some closure by having their loved ones found.”
The father of crewman and young dad Robert Prowse paid tribute to his son. Peter Prowse said Robert, of Westham, was born and bred in Weymouth and lived for the sea.
Mr Prowse said: “He had been fishing for the last five years. He went to Budmouth College and left school to go into the fishing trade.
“He always loved the sea; that was his life. As a nipper he would spend his time down at the quay.
“He leaves behind a young family and his beloved girls.”
Mr Prowse said the family requested privacy at this very difficult time.
His friend John Walker, who works at The Ship Inn on Weymouth harbourside, said: “We used to go down to Castletown a lot and fish.
“He had a fishing spot near the fishmongers Combens and we’d hang around there a lot.
“He always enjoyed fishing since he was a kid. He was a great lad full of laughter and he enjoyed going out. He had got his skipper licence and he wanted to get his own boat.
“It has come as a big shock. We had a whip-round among the staff at the Ship and got a bunch of flowers to put on the harbour.”
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