Farewell to a quiet and humble man with a song in his heart
By Western Morning News | Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 08:20
On top of the huge love and affection felt for Trevor Grills by his family, and his many, many friends and neighbours in Port Isaac, he touched thousands through his singing – particularly as the Fisherman's Friends spread their wings after signing to Island Records three years ago.
While documenting the group's incredible journey from free charity gigs on The Platt at Port Isaac to such unplanned heights as the main stage at Glastonbury, pictured, the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and, last weekend, the Royal Festival Hall, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Trevor and the other members of the group as friends.
It's a cliché, I know, but Trevor really was one of the most special people that I have ever had the privilege of meeting. In the strange and fickle arena of the commercial music industry, he was a fish out of water, and all the more enchanting and refreshing for that.
When I first encountered him and the other chaps in the snug bar at Port Isaac's Golden Lion back in 2010, Trevor told me he was "the quiet one" of the gang. That was certainly true, but he was also kind, caring, humble, fiercely loyal, hard-working, inquisitive, and full of fun. He was also sensitive and discerning.
In the democratic world of Fisherman's Friends, each member picks a couple of songs to lead during their live performances. Trevor's choices were heartfelt ballads that could move an audience to tears, delivered in his sweet top tenor tones with a faint but lovely hint of Cornish burr; songs like The Last Leviathan, a moving lament seen through the eyes of the world's last great whale, and the American folk classic Shenandoah.
When I last saw the group perform at Truro's Hall for Cornwall in December, Trevor had added a new number to their repertoire – his pretty and poignant version of The Final Trawl, a sad observation about the decline of the small boat fishing industry.
He was genuinely passionate about singing, while often doubting his own clear talent and charm as a vocal performer. Trevor sang simply for the joy of it and for the unique camaraderie he enjoyed with his fellow Fisherman's Friends.
He will be sorely missed.