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VIDEO: Pitiful reminder of fateful night

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Reporter Michelle Blade ventured out to Priest Skear with cross bay walks guide Alan Sledmore and two local fishermen, Stephen Clarke and Phil Forster, to revisit the scene and see for herself cockle bags which had emerged from the sands 10 years on from the cockling disaster.

In that windswept, beautiful landscape of the bay, it was hard to imagine in the daytime what the poor cocklers endured during the last minutes of their lives.

In pitch black, with water rising around them and no means of escape, they must have lost all hope and resigned themselves to the fact they were going to die.

The cockle bags, worth hundreds of pounds, were hastily abandoned by the Chinese cocklers and covered over by the water and sand.

Ten years on, they re-emerged from the sands near Priest Skear as a pitiful reminder of that fateful night.

The bags represent wealth, but also death in the bay.

With the freezing wind blowing around me and the rain hammering down, it was a bleak and desolate place to be.

The poor Chinese cocklers endured hours of back breaking work every night for a pittance – and 23 died trying to raise money for their families back home, and also to pay off their debt to the gangmaster.

Ten years on it is still chilling to think that this massive tragedy and exploitation of foreign workers happened in picturesque Morecambe Bay.

 

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