DORSET ECHO readers have been thanked for raising an amazing £4,500 for the Purbeck Isle Memorial fund.

The generous donation was raised by readers, community groups, churches and businesses around the area after the fishing boat Purbeck Isle went missing on May 17.

A three-day search was started for the crew of the vessel involving the Portland coastguard helicopter, during which the body of skipper David McFarlane, 35, was found but crewmen Robert Prowse, 20, and Jack Craig, 22, remain missing.

The wreck of the Purbeck Isle was found nine miles of Portland.

In the wake of the tragedy the Weymouth and Portland Licensed Fisherman’s and Boatman’s Association (WPLFBA) set up and spearheaded the Purbeck Isle Memorial Fund, which aims to help the families of the three men.

Trust funds will be set up to help the fishermen’s dependents and a separate fund will be put in place to help any family affected by a tragedy at sea in the future.

Hundreds of businesses across the county acted as collection points and donations have flooded in.

All the donations brought into the Dorset Echo collection points have raised £4,500 and this will be added to the running total of the WPLFBA, which is currently £23,280.56.

This gives a new running total of £27,780.56 and although the Dorset Echo collection points have now closed the collection will continue.

Secretary of the fishermen’s association Andy Alcock thanked Dorset Echo readers for their generosity.

He said: “It’s an incredible achievement.

“We would like to thank the readers of the Dorset Echo for their generosity and sympathetic letters and cards of condolence.”

He added: “It’s just amazing how people can take time out to do something for someone they didn’t know.”

David McFarlane’s parents Colin and Grace McFarlane said the whole family, including David’s three daughters, had been touched by the community’s kindness.

Mr McFarlane said: “The whole family is just so deeply touched by the generosity of people we haven’t even met.

“Just thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts.”

Mrs McFarlane said: “We feel overwhelmed with it all. We can’t really take it in.”


DONATIONS have come from far and wide across the community.

The WPLFBA would like to give a special thank you to the Rotary Club, from on-street collections the group raised £2,500.

From postal orders from a Dorset pensioner for £5 to cheques for £50, £100 and a £500 donation from Holy Trinity Church, Weymouth, the donations poured in thick and fast to the Dorset Echo collection points.

One anonymous card from a Dorchester pensioner with a cheque in said: “Our hearts go out to the families of the fishermen lost at sea. God bless them.”

Residents of an extra care housing scheme in Castletown, Portland donated £265.

In an accompanying letter they said: “We send our deepest sympathy to the families.”

Parishioners at Broadwey Methodist Church decided to donate £167 proceeds from a Diamond Jubilee cream tea to the fund.

In their letter they said: “The members of our church were shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic loss of the crew of the Purbeck Isle and our thoughts continue to be with their families and friends.”

The Briantspuddle Singers raised £190.57 from a special nautical-themed concert while Advantage Digital Print from Dorchester donated £100.

The Cornwall hotel in Dorchester raised £55 and a market at Preston village Hall raised £37.