Heartbroken friends of a Brixham man who died in a fishing boat tragedy have shared their memories of him.

In the early hours of Saturday (November 21) an extensive search began after the fishing vessel Joanna C, which is registered in Brixham, sounded its emergency beacon before it sank off Newhaven in East Sussex.

One crew member, Dave Bickerstaff, was found clinging to a lifebuoy and was recovered from the water by the Newhaven lifeboat and transferred to hospital.

Divers searched the wreck of the boat on Monday night (November 23) and Sussex Police confirmed earlier today that a body had been located and identified as Adam Harper, 26, from Brixham.

The second man, Robert Morley, 38, from Pembrokeshire, is still missing.

Aaron Ponting, who grew up with Adam in Brixham, said the dad-of-three “put a smile on everyone’s face”.


Speaking to the ECHO, Mr Ponting said: “Adam’s death has touched everyone in our town because everyone knew him.

“We’re from a small place and Adam was such a big character. Always the life and soul of the party, he put a smile on everyone’s face.

“I’ve known Adam pretty much all my life and he was a Liverpool fan through and through.

“The club meant everything to him and I know he would have loved to travelled up more to see matches but he was always working.

“He was a hard worker through and through, his family and friends meant everything to him.”


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In a statement on social media, Sarah Jayne Harper – Adam’s mum – said: “I just wanted to let everyone know that Adam has been recovered from the boat of the Joanna C and will be coming home to us before his final journey.

“Adam was found in his bunk as we expected as he was in bed at the time of the accident.

“Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for everything you have been amazing but can I please ask you to continue with you love and prayers for rob and his family and keep our candles burning and lights shining to bring rob back home where he belongs.

“Love to you all look after each other love from the harper family.”


Mr Ponting told the ECHO that he would love to see a tribute to Adam from the club he loved so much.

He said: “If we could get the club to share a tribute to Adam in some way I know it would mean the world to everyone.

“In the end, it’s what he would have wanted and he deserves it.

“Adam was a great guy, he would have went out of his way to help anyone.

“Everyone knew him around town and he meant so much to everyone.”


Moving tributes, gifts and notes are continuing to spread around a statue in Brixham in aid of the fishermen.

Among the tributes being left by Brixham’s Man and Boy statue are from one of the grieving father’s who has written on decorative light-up star ornament ‘Rest in peace son, love dad xxx’, and on a can of beer ‘R.I.P son, dad x’.

Vast numbers of candles of hope have been left at the statue, along with flowers and ornaments.

Notes left include one signed by the Rye and Hastings fishing communities which reads ‘our thoughts are with you all’.

So far, more than £28,450 has been raised. To make a donation to the fundraiser click here.





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