THE family of a well-loved fisherman have paid tribute to their ‘fighter’ after he died following a short illness.

Ian Cameron, known as ‘Ginger’ for his bright red hair, passed away at Ayr hospital on the morning of Wednesday, January 29.

The 66-year-old grandad-of-four suffered a cardiac arrest after battling back from two heart attacks during a two week stay in hospital.

Despite medics’ best efforts, Ian sadly passed away peacefully in front of his daughters Lahdane, Bronagh and his partner of 17 years Elsie.

Lahdane, who spoke on behalf of the family, told how her dad was ‘born and bred’ into a family of fisherman in Dunure and loved working out at sea.

She said: “He was brought up in Dunure, a fishing village. He worked on the boats from a young age, got his love for fishing and love for the sea. He worked with his dad first then had a boat, The Gallic May with his brother Forbes.”

Ian continued to work as a fisherman covering most of the UK’s waters; he was well known for his prawn trawler, the Wendy Ann, named after his wife, in the late 1980s and early 90s.

He then took on a different role at sea as the skipper for oil exploration boats, a job which took him thousands of miles across the Atlantic to the Falkland Islands. On his return to the UK he worked in Grimbsy to support vessels at offshore rigs.

Sadly, in early 2000s Ian was struck down by a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis which left him unable to continue work at sea, and Lahdane could tell it affected him.

She said: “It wasn’t safe for him to be onboard affecting his muscles and his balance, he gave up work in the early 2000s, the MS slowly started to get the better of him, he fought it very hard he was still very independent. He was a very proud man. He did not want anyone to think there was something wrong with him. It was his last return to dry land; he would have loved to go back out to sea.”

Ian met his partner Elsie who Lahdane says was his “soul mate and his rock.”

Despite not being at sea and leading a different life, Lahdane has told how Ian lived for his grandchildren and Elsie.

She said: “The grandkids kept him going. He loved all of Elsie’s grandkids too. He was always a laugh and a joker, always playing tricks and winding them up, telling them ridiculous jokes. He always kept a smile on his face.”

The family were shocked after Ian suffered a heart attack two weeks ago, but he fought on despite suffering several more.

She added: “It was a shock, he picked up a bit in hospital, faced another couple of heart attacks, but on Tuesday he had a cardiac arrest.

“He passed away peacefully with his family round him. We can’t thank the staff at both cardiac awards and ICU enough for the care that they gave him.

“He was a very strong man, always been a fighter, always been determined.”

Since his death there has been an outpouring of tributes. A Facebook group, Ayr Harbour Memories, came alive with former friends, fishermen sharing pictures and memories of Ian. Kind messages have been sent from as far the US.

Lahdane added: “The amount of people that have got memories of him is unreal, myself and my sister are quite a bit younger than my cousins.

“He’s got loads of people contacting my cousin through phone and social media. People who were part of the crew of some of the boats that he worked on all have fond memories of him. We did try to get my dad onto Facebook, but he didn’t believe in social media, she joked: “He thought it was a load of rubbish.

“It’s been really comforting for the family.”

Ian Cameron ‘Ginger’ will be laid to rest on Monday, February 10 at 1pm at Fisherton Church then to Dunure Cemetery.

The family hope to raise cash for the Fisherman’s Mission and MS society who both supported Ian during his battle with MS.