Last weekend, a Belgian fisherman named Johan held a lavish charity dinner to raise funds for the Manx Beauty restoration campaign.  

Suzanne Maddock, daughter of Arthur Maddock, the last fishing skipper of the Manx Beauty, wrote a blog post for the Cellardyke Trust, which owns the vessel, explaining how this came about. 

"I thought you may like to know a great story about my Dad’s friend, Johann Deacock.  My dad is the last skipper of the Old Manx Beauty, Arthur Maddock and his Friend Johan, a fisherman from Ostend in Belgium, contacted me back in June to let me know about a charity event he was planning run, to raise funds for the Manx Beauty.  It has been amazing connecting with Johan and hearing the stories of his and my father’s friendship, travels and his current fishing expeditions and his job in general, he truly has a big heart and I hope I can reunite him and my father again soon."

Johan, an excellent chef who owns over 300 cookbooks, created a special menu for the event, hired the restaurant - The Jolly Sailor at the Fish Docks in Ostend - personally, and cooked for more than fifty people over the two days of the fundraising event.  He also designed a special one-off placemat for the event, his friend devised a poem, and another friend who is a printer has done the printing free of charge!

The menu (pictured) was planned around the type of fish that Suzanne Maddock's father and grandfather (the skipper of Manx Beauty before Arthur) would have caught on their fishing trips in and around Wales and Liverpool Bay.  Arthur Maddock's favourite desserts - including scones! - were also served.

Johan's fishy menu included:

  • Sea bass ceviche with fennel, radish, chili, orange and orange oil 
  • Avocado prawns with courgette, tomato and a lemon verbena sauce
  • Marinated salmon with beetroot tartare, beetroot cream and sour cream
  • Crab soup with blue stilton and chaeddar cheese
  • Baked scallops with parsnip and fine curry
  • Rye bread with mustard seed, silver onion and herb oil
  • Open ravioli of brill, wild mushrooms, fine vegetables, spiced tomato and a lemongrass and chervil veloute with lobster and a cream of spiny lobster.
  • Marinated forest fruits with limoncello, scones and mascarpone cream

Writing before the event, Suzanne Maddock said: "I know how much Johan loves my dad and this reflects that totally.  The Manx Beauty continues to touch many people’s live around the world and to inspire incredible ideas that combine the Arts and the Fishing trade in many ways." 

Chair of the  Cellardyke Trust, Richard Wemyss, added: "I must say it was a phenomenal effort and wonderful event as part of an old friendship of Johan and Arthur Maddock.  We are stunned by the international support for our vision of bringing the Manx Beauty back to her original glory.  We cannot thank Johan enough for what looked an amazing culinary experience.  I hope it will inspire more events like this in the UK showing off the fruits of our seas and joy many people have in producing wonderful meals from them. Thank you to all that helped."

Built 1937 in Fife as a fishing vessel, the Manx Beauty was launched along with her sister ship the Manx Fairy on 11 June 1937.  These two boats and two others, the 'Manx Lad' and 'Manx Lass' were ordered as part of a Manx Government initiative to revive the Isle of Man fishing industry.  The Isle of Man had a huge sailing fishing fleet which declined very rapidly into the C20th and very little investment was put into steam powered fishing vessels.  By subsidising a fleet of state of the art ring netters the Manx Government hoped to encourage young Manxmen back to the fishing. 

During the Second World War, Manx Beauty was requisitioned for Port Inspection duties along with her three sister ships and had a machine gun placed on her foc'sle.  After the war she returned to work as a fishing vessel, working all around the country over the next couple of decades, from Tobermory in Scotland to Conway in North Wales to Padstow, Cornwall, then back to New Brighton on Merseyside in 1974, and finally to Bangor in North Wales.  She was used as a liveaboard from 1975.

The  'Bring Back the Beauty' campaign, which aimed to return Manx Beauty from Birkenhead to the East Neuk area of Fife and to restore her to her former beauty and use her as a community vessel, were successful in returning the vessel to East Neuk in February 2020.  She is currently residing at Pitkerie, one mile out of Anstruther and two miles from where she was built.  The Cellardyke Trust, which owns the vessel, recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the restoration project.  

Read more about the Manx Beauty campaign, one of our Shipshape Network Scotland projects, and donate to the Crowdfunder

Source: Cellardyke Trust website

Manx Beauty

Region Scotland