A KEEN angler who died after being pulled from the water off the Lizard has been remembered by his family and friends.
Chris Newton, 57, retired with his wife Elizabeth to Ruan Minor four years ago.
He set off angling alone in his small boat from Cadgwith last Wednesday afternoon, but the alarm was raised at 7pm when he failed to return. After a search involving local boats and The Lizard lifeboat, Mr Newton was found floating, wearing his lifejacket, at about 8pm.
In the water for up to four hours, he was reported still breathing when transferred to a Navy helicopter from RNAS Culdrose but he was pronounced dead at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Treliske, that evening.
Mrs Newton said she was stunned and the family devastated by his loss.
“I loved him so much. There will be a big gap now,” she said.
She thanked the emergency services, as well as her community, for its support.
Mr Newton, who leaves two children and five grandchildren, had a degree in marine biology and was a former director of the environment for the States of Jersey in the Channel Islands.
He became heavily involved with Helston and District Sea Angling Club, where he was secretary, and a good friend of chairman Steve Hoyler, from Cadgwith.
Mr Hoyler said: “I am blind, so he used to steer my boat for me and he soon learnt how to control it.
“He was always very helpful to me. He would bait my hooks and untangle my line, although I am used to doing it myself.
“He also had a wicked sense of humour and you never knew what he was going to do next.”
He said Mr Newton used to jokingly reprimand the other anglers for eating their lunch with the same hand they used to bait their fishing hooks.
Once, to make his point, he secretly carried on board a white tablecloth and full silver service that he spread on the engine housing for lunch.
Mr Hoyler added: “He will be greatly missed.”
Mr Newton won an angling competition held from Cadgwith over the summer. Each Thursday, enthusiasts and professional fishermen competed to catch the same kind of fish and Mr Newton won the most points.
Mr Hoyler added: “Chris was very practical and good with his hands. He was also a perfectionist. He was always doing some project, like building a pond in his garden or a new shed, but it had to be the best. When he repaired a fishing rod for you, it came back like new.”
On Monday, Mr Newton’s 13ft open boat was found drifting in two pieces off Eddystone Reef by Brixham coastguards. The police said his death was unexplained but not suspicious.
Coxswain Andrew Putt, from The Lizard RNLI lifeboat, which helped transfer Mr Newton to the helicopter, said: “We were very encouraged when the casualty was pulled from the water, as he was breathing, but we were informed later that he had sadly passed away.
“We would like to extend our sincere condolences to the man’s wife, family and friends.
“We would also like to thank both the boats Scorpio and Triad for their help in the search.”
In a report on the incident, Falmouth Coastguard watch manager Alex Greig said: “On the evening of December , Porthoustock and Mullion Coastguard Rescue Teams (CRT) were sent to an area around Cadgwith on the Lizard peninsula to assist in the search for a missing fisherman.
“At approximately 7pm the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre at Falmouth took a call reporting that a local fisherman had not returned from a fishing trip.
“The missing fisherman was known to go fishing alone on his boat in the area between Black Head and the Lizard Point.
“The rescue centre tasked both the Porthoustock and Mullion CRTs so as to cover the area as quickly as possible.
“The coastguard sector manager, a full-time coastguard who is responsible for the training of the CRTs, was also tasked as he would be able to co-ordinate the searches that both teams were conducting, ensuring the area was covered as efficiently as possible.
“The Lizard all-weather lifeboat was also tasked to conduct a search from the sea and two other local boats also responded to a radio broadcast requesting help with the search.
“The rescue helicopter, R193, from RNAS Culdrose was also tasked to assist.
“After the search had been continuing for about an hour, one of the local boats that was assisting located the fisherman in the water, being kept afloat by his lifejacket.
“The Lizard lifeboat very quickly recovered him from the water and started immediate first aid until the R193 was able to winch him from the lifeboat and transfer him to Treliske hospital, Truro.
“Unfortunately the fisherman was declared dead at hospital.”