Emsworth fisherman left heartbroken after fishing boat destroyed by Storm Eunice

Watch: Crews assess the damage caused by Storm Eunice

A fisherman from Hampshire has said his business is on the edge, after his fishing boat was destroyed during Storm Eunice.

Peter Williams' boat was moored at Emsworth Harbour when tragedy struck as the strongest storm in 30 years ripped through the south coast on Friday (18 February).

Supportive locals have now set up a crowdfunding page, appealing to others in the local community to Peter them rebuild - something which shocked him.

Peter has told ITV News the boat was his livelihood and he relies on it to keep his seafood company afloat.

On Thursday Pete and his colleagues emptied the vessel of anything that could be hazardous and secured the vessel, in preparation for the arrival of Storm Eunice.

He said, "It's a big boat and is designed to be out at sea and operated that way.

"Where it is in the harbour is pretty sheltered, but I've never seen the wind like that, and coupled with the tide being high at the same time, it was really like the perfect storm.

The damage caused by Storm Eunice is assessed by fishermen in Emsworth. Credit: ITV News Meridian

"Waves were crashing up the bank and there was stuff blowing everywhere.

"We were told a boat had broken loose so I ran up there, and our boat was up on the wall, and not a lot we could do about it.

"There's no way we could have got anywhere near it really.

"We ended up having to watch it get a pounding for a few hours."

Peter Williams

He added: "If I was a builder that boat is like my tools. It keeps me safe when I'm at sea, it takes me out every day and is well looked after.

"It's my livelihood at the end of the day.

"A significant part of our income is from that boat which brings fish into our shop. It's why we built the shop in the first place.

"It's going to take a significant amount of time for this boat to be back to a position where we can get out to sea and get on with fishing."

"We've had two years of reduced working opportunities because of Covid, we've had less demand for fish because we've had restaurants closed, and pubs closed.

"This was looking like our first proper year where we will earn money in spring and summer.