Letters to the editor – week 16

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Three months since the tragic sinking of the Nancy Glen fishing boat in Loch Fyne, the boat was last week raised from the depths.
Duncan MacDougall and Przemek Krawczyk have now been returned to their families. Through the Clyde Fishermen’s Association, Duncan and Przemek’s families this week issued the following statements:

The MacDougall family

The MacDougall family wishes to thank everyone who helped bring Duncan and his fellow fisherman Przemek back home to rest in Tarbert.

They recognise the incredible efforts, skill and generosity of the public and the professionals involved and give their unconditional thanks to everyone who did their best to help. Thanks go to the community of Tarbert and many communities nationally and internationally who have proved to be a tower of strength at this difficult time.

They wish to thank the Scottish Government, in particular the First Minister, and Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing for their compassion in making the decision to help. They also thank Allan Gibb of Marine Scotland for overseeing the operation.

In addition, they offer gratitude to Police Scotland’s family liaison officer Sergeant Martin Balkeen and Sergeant Danny McGeachy; CalMac; the workers from the Scottish Salmon Company and the valiant divers Calum Gilbert and Iain MacNab who all assisted on the night of the tragedy.

Thanks to the Royal Navy; all of the fishermen who gave their time to search relentlessly; Matthew Ramsay of the Fishermen’s Mission; the Rev Robert MacLeod who provided spiritual support; Michael Russell MSP and Kenneth MacNab and Elaine Whyte of the Clyde Fishermen’s Association and the Clyde Fishermen’s Trust.

A special thank you goes to Anthony Glover and his team at Keynvor MorLift for skill in achieving a very difficult recovery task.

The family would like to ask for privacy at this time to allow them to grieve properly.  Their gratitude to everyone who assisted will endure.

Gosia Krawczyk, on behalf of the Krawczyk family

It has been the longest, hardest, saddest and most traumatic 12 weeks of our lives.

I have lost my husband, my love, my best friend and my children have lost their amazing father.

My family and I are mixed with emotions at this moment in time. It is impossible to put into words the effect the loss of Przemek has had on our family. We will forever remember his unconditional love, humility and the sacrifices he made to provide for the family that meant the world to him.

He was everything to us and he has left a space no one else can ever fill. We miss him every day and we are struggling to picture a life without him in it. We know nothing will ever be the same for us and the weight of that grief is heavy to bear.

I would like to thank the Scottish Government, especially the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, for making the decision to retrieve the body of my husband. We also thank the Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing and Michael Russell MSP, Brendan O’Hara MP and Allan Gibb for their humanity, support and direct contact with me and my family; the KML Keynvor MorLift Ltd team for amazing commitment and hard work and Police Scotland for the sensitivity of their support throughout this very difficult process.

Special thanks to Martin Balkeen of Police Scotland who has been by my side from day one. His support, sensitivity, care and good words helped me to survive every day of this tragedy. My children and I are truly, truly appreciative for what he has done for us. He will always have special place in our hearts.

Finally, I would like to thank the Clyde Fishermen’s Association, Clyde Fishermen’s Trust, Kenneth MacNab and Elaine Whyte for being with us and for their invaluable support and help. Without them I do not know how I would survive this very difficult time.

On behalf of my family, thank you very much for the support, help and prayers coming from all over Scotland and the world. I would particularly like to thank the community of Tarbert and the surrounding area for their enormous help, extreme support and kind words each day for the last 12 weeks.

There are no words we could return which would express our gratitude.

We hope to be allowed the space to grieve in this period.

Thank you.

A vote in the dark

Sir,

The launch of the ‘People’s vote’ campaign group, which brings together MPs, celebrities and business leaders, calling for a public vote on the final Brexit deal between the UK and the EU, is to be welcomed.

The vote held almost two years ago was very much a vote in the dark and no one had any idea of what the consequences were going to be. Indeed, the terms and conditions of Brexit are quite unlike how they were presented during the run-up to the 2016 referendum.

Some Brexit campaigners deceived the British people with their misleading slogans and speeches – £350 million a week promised to the NHS being just one example.

However, the fallout from Brexit is becoming increasingly clear, especially around issues such as the implications of Brexit for the Irish border as well as the cold reality that it is hurting our economy, our public services and the life chances of future generations.

The government has already admitted that in all of the possible outcomes of the current negotiations, the country will be worse off. We are ultimately about to embark on a course that will make both ourselves and our children less prosperous than they are now.

Brexit is such a huge and momentous time in our history, one which will affect future generations for many years to come, and is an issue that should not be left to the politicians.

Now we are learning the real cost of Brexit, the only way to resolve the huge challenge we now face as a country is through a people’s vote on the final Brexit deal.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.

Volunteer to be a friend

Sir,

The latest Office for National Statistics survey on loneliness shows it doesn’t affect older people – it hits anyone regardless of their age in life.

We have so many new ways to communicate with people these days thanks to social media and technology, but often the traditional method of having a face-to-face conversation can dramatically help brighten someone’s day.

But how do people with sight loss feel? Apart from loneliness, they can feel isolated too, keen to become active and connected members of their community.

That’s why a befriending service is a lifeline for many people with a sight impairment as it offers companionship and support.

Volunteer befrienders are making a huge difference to the life of the person with sight loss and can also meet new friends and learn new skills, such as sight awareness, emergency first aid and guiding techniques training.

Feeling lonely also damages mental health. It’s as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and more dangerous than obesity.

Let’s help halt and reduce this epidemic and make the time to stop and listen to someone suffering from loneliness.

Not only will you be doing a good deed, but you may also discover something new from someone else’s wisdom whilst giving them a reason to love life.

Carl Hodson, chief executive, Society for the Blind, Kirkcaldy.