Quirky News

  • 3 May 2013, 10:21

Women's Institute in pirate fancy dress gaffe

Fancy dress /Rex/Creative Commons

Women's Institute members wore eye patches and wooden legs for a talk on piracy - not realising the speaker was held hostage for 47 days by Somali pirates.

The Parkham WI in Devon thought retired sea captain Colin Darch, 75, would regale them with tales of Blackbeard and Captain Kidd.

Stephanie George told The Mirror: "We didn't know much about him but the notes said he was Captain Darch and he was talking about piracy.

"Naturally everyone was aghast when we realised our mistake.

"There he was delivering this harrowing story about how he was held hostage and feared for his life, and we were all sitting there dressed as Captain Hook.

"We apologised profusely but Mr Darch was a great sport and it didn't seem to phase him at all."

Mr Darch, 75, went to the WI meeting to read extracts from his book Capture By Somali Pirates & Other Events At Sea.

He and his crew were taken hostage by 20 gun-toting pirates who hijacked his 120ft ship off Somalia in 2008. They were freed only after a 400,000 ransom was paid.

Mr Darch said: "They seemed to be a little embarrassed but it didn't offend me in the slightest.

"It's been five years now and sometimes I have to remind myself just how terrifying and frightening it was.

"In any event, the ladies didn't look the slightest bit like Somali pirates - more like the Pirates of Penzance."