A MAN who contributed significantly to the Morecambe Bay fishing industry and preserving its heritage for future generations has died.

Jack Manning, of Flookburgh, was a self-employed fisherman specialising in shrimping and cockling whose knowledge of the bay was second-to-none.

Over the decades Mr Manning became a well-known figure beyond Morecambe Bay, helping to guide people across the sands and advising film and documentary crews who wished to shoot footage there.

He was featured in several documentaries and, as a member of Flookburgh Band, appeared in the 1987 film Without A Clue, starring Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley.

He was also a guest on Harry Secombe’s Sunday evening programme Highway and helped Matthew Kelly make a children’s programme.

Born in 1932, one of Mr Manning's earliest recollections, as a schoolboy in January nearly 80 years ago, was the grounding during a blizzard of the trawler Impregnable. The vessel was discovered by Mr Manning’s father Harold and fellow fisherman Tom Wilson after a foghorn was sounded continually for hours.

“There had been some problem with their navigation system. They were completely lost and off course and had not seen any land since running aground,” wrote Mr Manning in his autobiography that he published in 2010 called "It Was Better Than Working". “Over the next few days the fish from the hold, said to be worth £400, was carted to Flookburgh by horse and cart and the crew of 12 stayed with families in the village for a month.”

At the age of 12 he also witnessed a crash in which Polish pilot Kazimierz Pyka lost his life on the sands of the Leven Estuary close to the shore at Old Park in Holker on November 9 1944. He was flying in his Miles Martinet when somewhere just north of Greenodd the plane's propeller and its housing came adrift.

He glided in from the south, over the railway just east of Plumpton viaduct, and came down on the sand. Ahead of him was a man-made sea wall, only a couple of feet high, which flipped the plane forwards and Warrant Officer Pyka landed upside-down on the north side of the wall in deep mud.

Last year Mr Manning decided there ought to be some sort of memorial near to where the pilot died. He commissioned a small plaque to be placed on a small cliff a hundred or so yards from where his remains lie.

Mr Manning passed away peacefully at home on November 8, the day before the anniversary of the pilot’s crash. He was surrounded by his family including Margaret; his wife of 65 years.

A funeral service was held on Saturday at John the Baptist Church in Flookburgh.