Morecambe Bay cockling tragedy: Risks still there for people working in the bay

Cockle pics  Morecambe
Cockle pics Morecambe

Members of Morecambe’s Chinese community were left in shock after the news of the terrible tragedy in the bay broke.

Raymond Chan, spokesman for the Hua Xian Chinese Society, said: “The Chinese community living in Morecambe is fairly tight-knit and when the news first came out it was a shock.

“Not just because of what happened, but also as they were unknown to many people even though it came to light they had been working and living in the area for a while.

“They had little contact with Chinese people who lived locally.

“However, many could relate to their situation - working as migrants far from loved with a desire to better themselves and provide for their families - but no-one could have imagined that they would die under such tragic circumstances.

“From the viewpoint of the local Chinese community, many still remember hearing the news and the upcoming anniversary will be met with quiet contemplation.

“However, one thing that hasn’t changed is the issue of safety for people working in the bay. “Since 2004 there have been further incidents of people needing to be rescued because they were inexperienced working on the sands just like the Chinese cocklepickers.

“The risks are still there.

“The 23 who lost their lives in Morecambe Bay had done so under circumstances that could have been prevented. “A major factor in the tragedy was exploitation.

“It is an issue that faces many people - not just Chinese migrants in the UK - that can lead them into dangerous situations.

“It is important to recognise when you or someone you know is vulnerable and being exploited, then seek help. “We believe this way we can prevent any further events like this happening in the future.”

The Hua Xian Chinese Society started in 2005 in response to long standing issues faced by some members of the Chinese community such as isolation and discrimination - issues that were also faced by the victims of the cockling disaster.

Since then, the society has also sought to find positive ways for people to engage with society through volunteering, community work, and by sharing arts and culture.

The Hua Xian Chinese Society will be taking part in ‘Sigh of the Sea’ an event by More Music on North Beach in Morecambe on the evening of Tuesday, February 4, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Morecambe Bay Cocklepicking Tragedy.