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Local Heroes: Hull's Trawlermen
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What was The Round Table? James Claughton 1

James Claughton

(Chairman of the charitable organisation The Round Table at the time of the Triple Trawler Disaster)
What was The Round Table?
It was an organisation of youngish men, under 40. It was a national organisation. And in Hull at that time there were three Round Tables. Humberside, such as I was in, Hull Round Table, and Hull White Round Table. We used to meet every fortnight and have a meal and a speaker. And one of the main objects of the Round Table was to help people in your own particular region as much as you possibly could. The trawler disaster in 1958 was what we would think was a national disaster, therefore we asked the national council, that is the main body of the Round Table, if we could in fact launch a national appeal, and they agreed to do this. And we got this situation where within 24 hours we’d contacted every Round Table in the country, and there were 951 or 961 Round Tables. And money started to come in. Now from that moment we were busy for about three weeks I would think, before we completed it. And we visited all the 58 dependants to see and try and assess what their needs were. Well, we raised in total £10,500. Now what’s that? What would you think that’s worth now? Probably a £200,000 something of that order. We also cleared debts of about £3,000. Cattles, for example, were quite a large company. But they straight away said “We’ll not be chasing any money at all. We’ll just cancel it”. I think the main reason was because they were in most cases the only wage earner. And you heard the gentleman before me saying that he was on £3 a week. I think I was on £6 a week at the time. So this sort of money was extremely valuable to them. But it wasn’t just money we gave them. We gave them coal, we opened accounts at supermarkets. One that we did, was an unborn child, we did a deed of covenant for her. She’d be now about 41 years old, I suppose. So that’s why we did it. And we had amongst the group, we had about 40 members, and there were two or three solicitors. So we knew who to send to to get debts cancelled and that sort of thing.