Tributes to ex-Fleetwood fisherman who appeared on TV chat show

Tributes have been paid to a well known former Fleetwood fisherman who has died at the age of 69.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 4:56 pm
Brian Cato (right) with Billy Ansell in 1986 after they brought the Royalist back into service.

Brian Cato, of Beach Road, died in the early hours of Friday, March 19, after becoming ill with cancer.

Brian spent around 50 years working in the maritime sector, including the fishing and offshore industries.

After his death was announced, the flag at Fleetwood’s RNLI station flew at half mast.

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Brian Cato at Fleetwood Docks

In the 1980s Brian caused a stir when he appeared on a TV chat show, talking about fishing and crossing swords with one of his french counterparts.

Fleetwood RNLI stated: "Brian was very well known around our town and he will be sadly missed by all.

"He was a great supporter of our lifeboat at Fleetwood. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this very sad and difficult time."

Brian was born in Fleetwood and after leaving school he served his time as an engineering apprentice at Hewitts before joining BP as a marine engineer on their tanker division, sailing all around the globe during the 1970s.

He then embarked on a career in the fishing industry, becoming co-owner of the Sharwendon around 1980, and Royalist in 1986.

After the fishing industry in the town declined, Brian spent the latter part of his career working on offshore support vessels as mate and skipper.

He was a mariner with both a chief engineer’s and a skipper’s ticket and finished his career on the Putford & Centrica Pride vessels before retiring in 2016.

An ardent Brexit suppoter, he believed the bureacracy of the EU playedv a part in the decline of Fleetwood’s once-proud fishing industry.

Brian’s cousin, Sean Connolly, recalled: “Brian could be funny, caring, grumpy and quick tempered in equal measure. On one occasion after docking in 1985, a DEFRA representative turned up.

“Brian was on the deck with his dog Skipper. The man turned to Brian and said he shouldn’t have a dog aboard the vessel. Brian told him, that the dog was cleaner than most of the crew!

"He had a very self deprecating sense of humour. He started swimming when he retired. He told me he knew he was unfit, when a swimmer with one arm lapped him in Fleetwood baths.

"I'll never forget his live daytime TV appearance on Kilroy 30 years ago. His verbal exchange over fishing rights with a continental trawlerman called Jean- Paul was like an embryonic edition of Jeremy Kyle!"

Family man Brian leaves wife Joan, whom he married in 1984, and children Andrea, Becky and Danny and he was Pop to Eddie, Billy, George, Ivy Rae, Jack and Tommy.

Brian’s funeral will be at St Peter’s Church on Thursday April 1 at 11am, before burial in the churchyard.