Lionel with wife Betty.
Lionel with wife Betty. Janine Watson

He died collecting lobster pots for son's birthday

GRIEF has been compounded by financial stress for the family of Lionel Innes, who drowned after his boat capsized at Sapphire Beach on November 9.

He was out collecting his lobster pots to give to his son a catch later that day as a 50th birthday gift.

The 80-year-old never celebrated his birthday as his mum died on that day, and now, with Lionel's death coming on the same day as his son's 50th birthday, the sad coincidence has been passed on.

The family has made the reluctant decision to establish a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral costs.

Neither Lionel or Betty had a superannuation nest egg and were living week by week on their aged pensions.

Man dies after boat capsizes: Man dies after boat capsizes off Sapphire Beach, Coffs Harbour.

"The family is uncomfortable asking for help but desperately needs it at this difficult time," family member Lidiya Kalamir explains.

Betty has been considering selling her car or mortgaging their home to meet the costs they estimate to be over $10,000. Lionel's body has been sent to Newcastle for an autopsy and the funeral date is yet to be set.


Lionel Innes drowned after his boat capsized near Sapphire Beach earlier this month.
Lionel Innes drowned after his boat capsized near Sapphire Beach earlier this month. Janine Watson

"But any donation no matter how small would be very much appreciated in helping this lovely lady and her family celebrate dear Lionel's life in a manner he deserves."

Lionel lived in Coffs Harbour for 68 years and made a living as a timber cutter.

Emergency services were called to Campbells Beach on Oceanfront Drive, Sapphire Beach, following reports a vessel had capsized about 200m off shore about 11.15am on November 9.

A short time later, Lionel's body was brought ashore.

To donate go to the GoFundMe page here.