HUNDREDS of pounds are pouring into a fund for the families of the crew of the Purbeck Isle.

The Purbeck Isle Memorial Fund, spearheaded by the Weymouth and Portland Licensed Fishermen’s and Boatmen’s Association, has gone from strength to strength since it was launched on Monday.

Businesses, shops and pubs have been displaying the collection buckets and organisers say the response has been fantastic.

It was launched after the Purbeck Isle fishing boat went missing last Thursday.

In a three-day search co-ordinated by Portland Coastguard, the wreck of the boat was found, as was the body of skipper David McFarlane, 35, but crewmen Jack Craig, 22, and Robert Prowse, 20, are still missing. The search for the missing men was later called off. The incident is subject to an investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch.

The King’s Arms pub was one regular haunt of all three fishermen and is backing the fund.

Landlord Pete Whittle said that he had known David McFarlane ever since he took over the pub four years ago as he and his crew were regulars.

He said: “It’s affected the staff a lot there because they know him so well.”

He added that the night it happened they stayed open late as family and friends waited for news on what had happened in the pub.

He added: “On the harbourside there’s a very sombre atmosphere even with the good weather.”

Mr Whittle said that donations had been good.

L‘n’O’s Bistro in Weston Road, Portland is also backing the memorial fund.

Owner Ozzy Stainforth said the incident was a tragedy. He said: “Our hearts go out to all the families affected by this tragedy.

“These guys were just trying to provide for their families in what must be the last occupation where people risk so much to put food on a plate.

“It’s such a pity that such a tragic loss of life as this might focus the minds of the decision-makers on high.

“Cutting back on coastguard and search and rescue facilities will only put the lives of others trying to make a living from the sea more perilous.”

How you can donate

Cash donations or cheques payable to the Weymouth and Portland Licensed Fishermen's and Boatmen's Association can be dropped in to the Dorset Echo offices on the Granby Industrial Estate in Weymouth, Antelope Walk in Dorchester or East Street in Bridport.

Or they can be posted to Purbeck Isle Appeal, Dorset Echo, Fleet House, Hampshire Road, Weymouth, Dorset, DT4 9XD.

Anyone wishing to pay by credit card can do so at And donations can also be made at more than 38 locations, including The King's Arms, The Sailor.s Return, Rendezvous, The Royal Oak, The Ship Inn, Weyfish and Weymouth Angling Centre in St Edmund Street, Wetherspoon’s William Henry and The Swan, Alf’s Fish and Chips and Vaughan's Bistro.

Donations can also be made over the counter at the Halifax branch in Weymouth.

If anyone would like a collection tin for their business or help in any way please call the Echo newsdesk on 830999.