MEVAGISSEY'S harbour master has paid tribute to the port's hardworking fishermen and its close-knit community on his retirement.
Hugh Bowles stepped down on Friday, exactly 21 years after he took up the post, and hailed the harbour and its community as magnificent.
He said: "I've enjoyed my time; it's been pretty diverse and I've met a lot of interesting people.
"Our fishermen are hardworking and a pretty go-ahead bunch and if you walk around the harbour you'll see we have a lot of youngsters coming into the industry.
"Mevagissey bucks the trend, especially with the youngsters coming into the industry, and that's important because they're the future of the industry," he said.
A father of six and grandfather of 16, he was born in Penzance and began his nautical career at the age of 17 when he became a navigation cadet.
After completing his apprenticeship he rose through the ranks to first mate before achieving his master's certificate. He was a chief officer for six years and was promoted to master before he anchored in Mevagissey.
He took over the post from Jim Rafferty, who was in the job for 18 years.
During his time in charge he has been involved in a range of jobs ranging from securing grant funding – including most recently securing money for the extension of the jetty – and the establishment of the aquarium to assisting with delivering fuel to ships leaving the port.
As Mr Bowles stepped down from the helm he was presented with a laptop by the harbour community.
Colin Harris, chairman of the trustees of Mevagissey Harbour Committee, said: "Hugh has been a very hands-on harbour master, never afraid to get his hands dirty, and he never asked his staff to do anything he wouldn't do himself."
Mr Bowles, who will continue to live locally, said: "I'll still wander round the harbour, but I'll be able to enjoy it rather than feel like I have to resolve any problem that might arise."
His role has been filled by Roger Young, aged 48, who has been in charge of at Chichester harbour in West Sussex for the past 15 years.
"Hugh has done a fantastic job of looking after the harbour for the past 21 years and it's an absolute honour to take over as master of a harbour that has such a good community," he said.
"I'm looking forward to the new challenge and working with the harbour community. I hope to continue Hugh's excellent work and I know I have big boots to fill."
Mr Bowles will be staying in Mevagissey, where he lives with his wife, Sue, and admits he will now be catching up on all the jobs around the house he has been putting off for the past 21 years.