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Tributes as much-loved Newlyn fisherman 'Archie' dies

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: October 18, 2012

Archie Donaldson, who passed away last week aged 58.

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TRIBUTES have been paid to a much-loved fisherman and "gentleman" from Newlyn who used to bring his mother a bunch of flowers every time he returned home from sea.

Anthony 'Archie' Donaldson, 58, died suddenly of a heart attack in Torquay last Wednesday just moments after stepping off the boat he skippered.

His untimely death is said to have sent shock waves through Newlyn and Penzance, where he was known as a popular, well-respected, loving and caring man, who will be sorely missed.

Archie's family, who also lost his brother Andrew at sea in 1985, paid tribute to the man they said made the most of his life.

His sister, Susan Hichens, told The Cornishman: "The whole community is shocked because Archie was such a big healthy, strong man, nobody would have believed or suspected it. He just had this way with him that when people met him, they took to him instantly.

"He idolised his two nephews and niece, Katie-Louise, Andrew and Adam. They were like his children as well. He could never do enough for them.

"He was an absolutely brilliant son to my mother, loving and caring. He was there by her side all the time.

"When he was in from sea, anything you wanted, you need just ask."

Archie, who acquired his nickname while in the cadets, grew up in Penzance and attended St Paul's Primary School before moving on to Lescudjack Secondary School.

He served an apprenticeship as an arc welder before joining the Royal Navy and then the Merchant Navy, until finally finding his calling as a fisherman in his twenties. He worked for Plymouth-based Interfish Ltd for the past 25 years, where he became skipper of the Admiral Gordon.

An enthusiastic reader, his family described him as a lover of the "simple life", having a few drinks with friends before going back to the home he had lived in for the past 12 years.

His friend Shaun Stevenson said Archie was a big fan of books by local author Crosbie Garstin because they reminded him of being wrapped up in a blanket reading them as a child.

A keen yachtsman, Archie planned to retire at 60 and buy a boat with a few friends.

Mr Stevenson, who had planned to travel America's Route 66 with the Country and Western music fan, said Newlyn had been deeply affected by his loss.

He said: "He was a great mate of mine for nearly 40 years; I suppose he was my dearest friend. He was a great, just man, respected by all his people.

"He was just an all-round top, whole guy. He will be sorely missed.

"He excelled to be professional. On his boat he was God. One young sailor used to refer to him as 'My liege'. To his peers he was just our mate; to young sailors he was somebody to look up to.

"Everybody that's been fishing in Newlyn for the last 10 years, they knew Archie Donaldson."

Andrew Munson, Newlyn harbour master, said Archie was a well-respected fisherman and a "gentleman" to deal with.

Archie's funeral takes place at St Mary's Church, Penzance, at 11am on Monday.

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