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Grief continues for cockling victims families

Gina Tan (second from right) with family members of the victims of the 2004 cockling disaster. Behind them is one of the graves of the Chinese cocklers who came from Fujian province in China to cockle in Morecambe Bay.

Gina Tan (second from right) with family members of the victims of the 2004 cockling disaster. Behind them is one of the graves of the Chinese cocklers who came from Fujian province in China to cockle in Morecambe Bay.

This is one of the graves of the drowned Morecambe Bay cocklers in China’s Fujian province.

Families of the 23 victims of the 2014 tragedy are still battling to come to terms with the death of loved ones, we can reveal today.

Gina Tan, a member of the Morecambe Chinese community, travelled out to the area, where she is from, taking food and visiting the grave – situated high up in the mountains and a long bus ride away for the family.

After the town of Morecambe remembered those who lost their lives in an emotional ‘Sigh
of Sea’ beachside ceremony this week, she told week, she told The Visitor life in the last 10 years had been very hard for the families.

The mother of one of the victims who died in the Morecambe bay cockling disaster was so consumed with grief she was found hanged.

And family members have since died heartbroken in the ensuing years since that fateful night.

Ms Tan, said: “Some of the families have no income coming in, they live a very hard life.

“The cocklers came over here for a better life for their families and their children’s schooling. “They are very poor. Even now one of the sons of one of the victims works 6am until 10pm seven days a week and only receives £60 a month.

“I feel very, very bad for the families.”

Gina has travelled to Fujian province several times, taking 23 bags of food and other items to give to the families of the victims.

In an emotional trip they also visited the grave. The huge concrete structure is inscribed with Chinese writing and was constructed by the family.

When Gina found out about the deaths of the 23 Chinese cocklers, she said she was ashamed.

She said: “I still feel bad about what happened that night. I was questioned for half a day by the police and then I realised who had died, the cocklers from Liverpool.

“For one of them it was his first night out to pick cockles and he died. Morecambe Bay is a very dangerous place, they didn’t teach them the dangers.

“On the night, a vehicle broke down and some jumped out the right side of the vehicle. All these people drowned – the ones that jumped out of the left side of the vehicle were able to swim to shore and survived.

“I’ll never forget what happened. I pray to god please don’t let it happen again because this Morecambe bay is so dangerous.”

 

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