THE original fisherman’s friend has been remembered with a special service. His newly restored grave was also unveiled in a Canvey churchyard.

Ebenezer Joseph Mather, founder of the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen, retired to Canvey following a varied career as an accountant, writer and market gardener.

He died on December 23, 1927, aged 78, and was buried in St Katherine’s churchyard, now the grounds of the heritage centre in Canvey Road. In April, members of the Canvey Community Archive, the heritage centre, Stibbards funeral directors, Canvey Town Council and the Canvey Team Ministry formed the Mather Grave Restoration Group.

Janet Penn, one of the online archive’s editors, said: “It is important he is remembered on Canvey where he lived and important he is remembered nationally because he did so much to help the country’s fishermen.

“We take for granted the fish we get on our plate, but even today being a fishermen is one of the most dangerous jobs.

“Ebenezer went out into the seas to find out about the dangerous conditions.”

The Mission was founded in 1881 and still provides emergency and welfare support to fishermen around the UK.

The unveiling ceremony was attended by representatives from Essex county, Castle Point and Canvey town councils and Mr Mather’s great grandson Ian Mather and his wife Pauline.

It followed months of work and fundraising to repair the grave.

Mr Mather’s family and members of the public also made donations, but Stibbards, which made the original headstone covered most of the remaining costs.

A harvest of the sea service was also held at St Anne’s Church in St Anne’s Road, near to Mr Mather’s home in the Leigh Beck area of the island and where the devout Christian worshipped.