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Honours for Old Harbour Bay fishermen

Published:Friday | October 16, 2015 | 3:18 PMMel Cooke
Junior McDonald (left) and Cyril ‘Mackerel’ Campbell walk on the beach at Old Harbour Fishing Village, Old Harbour, St Catherine.

Two fishermen from Old Harbour Bay will be among those honoured in the Spanish Town, St Catherine, tomorrow when the nation marks National Heroes Day.

They will be recognised for deeds on sea and land. Boat Captain Cyril 'Mackerel' Campbell will be awarded for his gallantry in rescuing 'Fluffy' Allen in 1993 after he was lost at sea, while Junior McDonald's community service will be recognised.

While the Allen rescue was more than 20 years ago, the story was not widely known outside the fishing community until a Gleaner story looking back at the incident was published in early September.

Campbell persisted in looking for Allen when it seemed all hope was lost, using his instincts and seafaring knowledge to find him in the dark. Allen was delirious and on the verge of going under the water permanently when Campbell located him.

Didn't think of honours

Now that he is being honoured, Campbell said while he was not thinking about being honoured when he was performing that rescue (and there have been others), "I know something would happen. Do it from your heart and something will happen," said Campbell.

His daughter Annasta Campbell-Clarke said she grew up seeing her father being consistently kind to others, a personality trait which has not changed. Now, Campbell-Clarke is happy that she will be able to see him accept the award on National Heroes Day.

McDonald is a long-standing, prominent member of the Jamaica Fishermen Co-operative Union and the Old Harbour Bay Fishermen Co-operative.

"It is a rare thing to see a fisherman being honoured for gallantry," McDonald said of Campbell's award., while noting that there have been many other rescues at sea by fishermen, but the stories are generally not widely known.

For himself, McDonald said he feels very humbled, "knowing that at this level as a fisherman I can be recognised nationally and locally in the parish where I was born."