Heartbreak for Emsworth family fishing business as livelihood jeopardised when ‘pride and joy’ boat smashed by Storm Eunice

A FISHERMAN has told of the heartbreak he felt at seeing his ‘pride and joy washed up on the shoreline’ after Storm Eunice smashed his family business’s fishing boat.
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Havant couple Chantelle and Peter Williams were devastated as they helplessly watched their boat Tia Maria get battered and destroyed by Storm Eunice.

Now, the future of their award-winning, Emsworth-based seafood business 'Fresh From the Boat' hangs in the balance.

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Peter said: ‘It’s been tough enough with Covid without having this on top of it.

The Tia Maria in the storm. The Tia Maria in the storm.
The Tia Maria in the storm.

‘Boats can be insured, but when it’s your business, that’s it until it can be fixed. It’s worrying times when it’s your entire livelihood.’

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Chantelle and Peter have run Fresh From The Boat as joint owners for around 15 years, and Peter does the fishing in Emsworth Harbour.

The couple were onsite from the early hours on February 19, keeping an eye on the Tia Maria as the wind hit force 11-12.

The Tia Maria is the boat that Peter uses to fish.The Tia Maria is the boat that Peter uses to fish.
The Tia Maria is the boat that Peter uses to fish.
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While at the shop serving a customer, they were notified that a fishing vessel had washed aground at about 11am – and had been smashed against the sea wall and rocks.

Peter said: ‘We had kept a close eye on the boat but we couldn’t get near it.

‘It’s had a real beating.

‘That was a serious bit of wind, I’ve never seen anything like it.

In calmer waters. In calmer waters.
In calmer waters.

‘It was worse than any other storm we had.’

The couple set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds to repair or replace the boat, which could run into the tens of thousands.

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Peter is worried for the future now that his livelihood has been taken away from him, and added: ‘I put my life and soul into making the business what it is.

The Fresh From The Boat team.The Fresh From The Boat team.
The Fresh From The Boat team.

‘It's how we feed ourselves.

‘I'm extremely worried about how long it’s going to take to get back up and running - it's a heck of a mess.’

Generous donors have already smashed the original fundraising target of £4,000 – but grateful Peter says the couple appreciate any help they can get.

He added: ‘I was quite shocked at how quickly the money was raised.

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‘There is insurance but insurance doesn't cover not being able to work.

‘The support is quite amazing - I'm still trying to come to terms with it.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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