Poignant release of pictures to mark cockling anniversary

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An artist has created intimate portraits of the 23 Chinese cocklers that died in Morecambe Bay.

The passport size pen drawings done by Morecambrian Jonathan Greenbank of the men and women who died in the cockling tragedy ten years ago will be released into the water from Red Bank in Bolton-le-Sands.

Jonathan, who is the only artist from Merseyside included in the reputedHannah directory, said: “I found those who left orphans or were never recovered, particularly harrowing.

“The case of the victim whose face we will never know, desperate.

“The stories of the two younger men, one of whom had gone away to get money to build his family a home, just awful. The fact these were often passport photographs, a moment many feel excited about and dress their best for, makes the whole thing all the sadder.

“These images should literally have been their ticket to a brighter future, instead they are almost like a death mask.

“One can only imagine the knock on effect on the devastated families, children, whole villages, and what they must make of the UK, Liverpool and most specifically Morecambe, a far away place for them that offered hope and now only tragedy, a local attraction for us that brought us sunshine, Frontierland, fortune tellers, fish and chips.

“This wasn’t about me, it was about the lives of others, on the other side of the world, whose loss their loved ones might never come to terms with yet I for one only acknowledge now, ten years after the event, and for that – and for them – I am truly sorry.” The twenty three will be released back into the sea from Red Bank over the summer. Later in the year there will be an exhibition of the drawings in Lancaster.