The last of the fleet inspires musician’s song about Copious

Songwriter and musician Terry Priestley infront of The Copious.
Songwriter and musician Terry Priestley infront of The Copious.

A Whitby Gazette front page story about the plight of local fishing boat Copious inspired a folk musician to pen a song about it.

Terry Priestley said: “It was back in April, I was reading the story of The Copious being Whitby’s last big trawler and almost immediately realised this should be a song.”

The story highlighted the possibility of The Copious having to find a new home.

The borough council deemed that not enough local landings had been made by the boat and would charge the owner Richard Brewer four times the amount to berth in the harbour.

Although living in Barnsley, Terry has been visiting Whitby for 40 years and like many before him, has developed an affinity for the town.

He said: “I remember coming over in the Seventies and buying an early John Freeman calender when he was just starting out doing pen and ink line drawings.

“Although living where I do, I manage to buy the Whitby Gazette most weeks so I can keep in touch with what’s going on.

“I started writing most of the lyrics on the only thing I had to hand – the front page of the Whitby Gazette, which was carrying the story.”

Terry came into our office and sure enough on a photocopied front page of the Gazette were his original verses that he put to music.

“My son’s the sixth generation to fish here in this town, but fishing rights and legacies are dragging this boat down,” he said.

“After some weeks of tweaking and fine tuning I started recording the song.

“I suppose it’s quite a sombre piece, but then again it’s a sombre story.

“While I may be allowed a little artistic licence in the process, a job such as Richard Brewer’s has no room for such things, his job is obviously a serious game involving great risk .”

The other songs on the CD are about Whitby’s own poet Tony Morris and one about Dracula.

Neil Wilson plays on flutes, whistles and keyboards and Bob Meakin on violin and viola. They all often busk in Whitby or perform at The Elsinore.

The CD, The Last of the Fleet, is available from Music port on Skinner Street or the CD shop in Abbey Wharf Market.