A BODY pulled from the sea has been identified as a Maenclochog fisherman who lost his life when a boat sank off the Sussex coast, according to his family.

Two of the three men on board the Joanna C lost their lives when the boat sank off the coast of Newhaven in November last year.

Captain Dave Bickerstaff was pulled from the water by lifeboat crews and the body of 26-year-old Adam Harper was recovered by divers days later.

A body brought from the sea at Bexhill in December has now been formally identified as Pembrokeshire man Robert Morley, 38, his stepfather has said.

Writing on Facebook, Barry Woolford, from Brixham, said: “To all the beautiful people of Brixham, it is with much sadness that I have to inform you that our son Robert Morley has been identified as the body that was brought from the sea at Bexhill in December.

“Thank you all for your fantastic support and love these past 12 weeks.

“No further information is available at this moment regarding funeral arrangements but on behalf of all Rob’s family thanks Brixham.”

Mr Morley, 38, lived with his family in Llangolman and Clarbeston Road but worked away on fishing boats for long stretches. The Western Telegraph understands that his fiancée works in Maenclochog and that both their children attend school locally.

He was described by one local resident as a 'doting dad' and a 'kind, loveable geezer'.

Several fundraisers were held before Christmas to support Mr Morley's family, with Maenclochog's Caffi'r Sgwar holding a weekly curry night and the village school holding several fundraisers.

A major sea search was launched in the early hours of November 21, 2020, when Joanna C set off an emergency beacon off the Sussex coast.

After the rescue mission was called off, hundreds of people gathered in Newhaven for a two-minute silence to send their thoughts to the friends and families affected.

Newhaven Lifeboat crews, who were among the emergency teams involved in the desperate search for the fishermen, joined the tribute from their station.

At the time, Mr Morley's former boss said that he was planning on quitting his life on the water in favour of a job on land.

Ian Bickerstaff said the loss of the fisherman, who was “like family” to him, had left “a big dent” in his life.

The fishmonger last saw the 38-year-old fisherman just a day before he set off on the trip, when he was “full of beans”.