IT STARTED out as a whimsical idea to get a few local women together for a sing song.

Now the Fishwives are well on their way to becoming the next big female choir to capture the nation’s hearts.

The group, made up of women who all have a father, husband, son or some other connection to the fishing industry, is the brainchild of Jane Dolby.

Jane’s trawler man husband, Colin, disappeared at sea during a freak storm off the Essex coast in 2008.

The 46-year-old, from Leigh, was left to deal with the cruel practicalities of his body going missing, as well as the grief of losing her husband.

She said: “Because there is no body, no one will believe that he is dead.

“That means you’re still getting bills for his phone contract, his credit cards and all the other things which shouldn’t be coming down on you.”

Jane turned to the Fisherman’s Mission, a charity which provides financial and emotional support to fishing widows.

To pay them back, she came up with the idea of mimicking popular choirs, such as the Military Wives, by posting a message on Facebook calling for women in a similar situation to her to get together and record a charity single.

Before she knew it, she had more than 100 women wanting to take part, heralding from the Shetland Isles to Jersey.

The size of the group means it has been split into regional sections, which will practise individually before joining up next spring to record the single.

Jane said: “It’s been an amazing response and somewhat overwhelming.
“We’ve had messages of support from everywhere and I just hope we can pull it off.”