‘Be Ready’ Theo – Fishing News

Two articles of interest in Fishing News related to Campbeltown-built boats, the Be Ready and the Donevale II

Celebration dinner for first winner of award

Shetland Skipper, Theo Fullerton of the 80ft. ‘Be Ready’ has been chosen as the first winner of Fishing News’ Young Skipper of the Year Award. He will be presented with a trophy at the ‘Celebration of Fish’ dinner to be held at London’s Fishmongers Hall on April 30th.

The dinner, organised by the London Fish Merchants Association (Billingsgate), is the first ever gathering of all the sectors of the fishing industry, from supermarkets to merchants. Junior Fisheries Minister, John Gummer, and TV personality Keith Floyd, who has done so much to popularise seafood, will address the dinner.

Invitations have been sent to over 200 representatives of supermarkets, retailers, processors, port and inland merchants and fishermen, and the proceeds will go to the Royal National Mission to Deepsea Fishermen.

Announcing the Young Skipper of the Year Award, Fishing News managing director, Harry Barrett said, “Since the Silver Cod Trophy became defunct, there has not been an occasion when a national tribute can be paid to outstanding fishermen. The new award has been devised to fill that gap and, at the same time, recognise the young fishermen on whom the future will very much depend”.

“Skipper Fullerton symbolises the progressive breed of young fishermen who are now taking boats to sea. Not only do they face physical risks, but they display huge financial courage in investing heavily in the future of the industry”.

“This initiative shown by the London Fish Merchants Association in bringing together leading representatives of all sectors of the industry provides an ideal platform on which to pay tribute to our young fishermen”.

Extract from Fishing News March 2oth 1987 – pages 12.

Be ready Teho and Early starte for leading skipper. - Articles from Fishing News published March

‘Be ready Theo’ and ‘Early start for leading skipper’ – Articles published in Fishing News in March 20th 1987. Pages 12 and 13. Courtesy of Bobby Wylie.

Early start for leading skipper

Skipper Theo Fullerton (39) is a member of a family in the Shetland Island of Burra, whose family have been fishermen as far anyone can trace.

After leaving Hamnavoe School in 1962 he joined his father’s boat, ‘Golden Harvest’, as a cook, spending a summer at seine net fishing and ‘running’ the market’ to Aberdeen because of the low prices in Shetland. They made eight trips in eight weeks and Skipper Fullerton’s share for the summer was £50.

It was not a very promising start for a young fisherman and, to add to his problems, he was seasick for most of the time. He decided to spend the winter of 1962 in a shore job while ‘Golden Harvest’ went to East Anglia herring fishing.

However, he rejoined the crew on their return and they fitted out for lobster fishing. He was cook for the next two years as the ‘Golden Harvest’ settled down to her normal pattern of fishing herring between May and August and seining for white fish the remainder of the year. Before long Skipper Fullerton, his sea-sickness over, left the galley for a deck job.

In 1969, he joined his brother, Jimmy, in the Sputnik trawler, bought second hand from Aberdeen. In 1972 he took time off to study for his skipper’s ticket at Whalsey where the local teacher, Jeanette Williamson, was achieving outstanding results with her class of fishermen.

Skipper Fullerton sold his share in the ‘Donvale’ in 1981 and formed a partnership, which bought the 70ft long ‘Evening Star’. They renamed her ‘Opportune’.

She was sold 2 and half years later when the partnership decided to invest in the biggest, most powerful inshore craft available, an 80ft vessel from Campbeltown. They named her ‘Be Ready’, after a successful old herring boat, skippered by Theo’s grandfather

The new ‘Be Ready’ arrived in March 1985 and proved an immediate success, winning the George L. Hunter Trophy as the most successful white fish vessel in Shetland in 1985, after only 10 months of fishing with a gross of £471,890.

Last year the trophy went to Skipper Fullerton’s brother and the ‘Donvale II’ while ‘Be Ready’ was third with a gross of £467,738. She had been laid up for seven weeks at the end of the year while major improvements were carried out to her electrical system.

The original 24 v supply was perfectly adequate for the equipment installed in Campbeltown but not for the additions the owners now consider essential. She now has a Petbow 45 generator, providing a 440/240v supply. In addition to an new electric cooker and other improvements in the galley and mess room, she also has a chilling plant to secure better quality in the fish room

Skipper Fullerton and his wife, Betty, live at Valdur, Bridge End, Burra. They have two children – Michelle (18) and Ellis (13), who like his father, is mad about boats.

Extract from Fishing News March 2oth 1987 – page 13.


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