An update from a Harwich Mayflower Project Trustee.

This will be my last blog for a little while, although I’ll still be contactable via email and the “contact author” section, I will be unable to update any posts while I’m away. I’ve several things lined up before shortly heading off to the USA, travelling coast to coast over 12 weeks or so for research for a novel, as well as securing funds for MS and diabetes charities.

There was a comment on my last blog from a reader which stated “An opportunity to come clean now, surely. It would take just one Trustee, one honest person to take advantage of JK’s busy schedule and write the truth. By August?”

It seems someone was listening and a Mr Tony Elliston, a trustee and Vice Chairperson of the HMP has contacted me on behalf of the Project. We’ve been in conversation for a few days and he said that he’d like to put forward some HMP info for inclusion on the blog. So after a Trustee meeting today, I have been sent the following info and with the permission of Mr Elliston I am passing it on. I have placed my thoughts in brackets.

We intend to ask people in Harwich what they think and the way this process is starting is via the consultation meetings, the first of which was held last month. We are planning the next one and will announce the date shortly.

[Yes! Better late than never, this is so very badly needed. Not only do the people of Harwich need to know what is happening, they deserve a say in the future of their town. If these consultations are properly arranged and managed, they will be a great platform for the people of Harwich.]

Following today’s (Friday 16th June) Trustees meeting, we can tell you that, while we will continue to try to secure funds for the USA 2020 trip until we literally run out of time (March 2018) we have now committed to also build a shore based replica of the Mayflower which will remain in Harwich. This means that whether the USA trip happens or not, the Mayflower will be the centrepiece of Harwich celebrations in 2020.

[The original cut off date was announced as May 2018, it seems to have moved forward. I did state in an earlier post that I thought that the build would become a static visitor attraction, seems I was on the button with that one. I also stated that I saw the Project moving more in the direction of a heritage centre and moving away from a build. In my personal opinion I think that too is looking extremely probable. I feel that the HMP will become a central focus point for all things related to Harwich, but I can’t get rid of that nagging doubt that the dream of building a replica ship and sailing it to the US has died.]

We have drafted a volunteer policy for the organisation and we see this as the first step in enhancing the status of volunteers. In the next week or so, we will be seeking to re-establish the volunteers team and appoint a co-ordinator. We will be writing to those people who have volunteered in the past and undertaking a general advertising campaign.

An article in the Standard today talked about our new initiative. The station was not being used for training so, in collaboration with a local collector, we are establishing a transport heritage centre there. The station is being put back to the 1920s. One room is completed so far and volunteers are pressing ahead with four more. We should be able to announce an opening date soon. The Hazelton collection is also going to be properly curated and displayed, this includes a 1620’s showcase.

[Does this mean that the “temporarily closed” Training Centre is now permanently closed?]

The Trustees agreed today to re-establish the supporters group and (from the consultation meetings and wider) establish an advisory group so that Harwich people have a direct input into the project.

[Again, a very positive step in the right direction]

Looking ahead, we have invited the Military Wives Choir to perform at St Nicholas Church on 7th October. Tickets are available now at £15 and already in demand.  [OK, I’ll let you get a free plug in 😉 ]

We are widening the vision but I think that is the way to make a difference here in Harwich.

[in my opinion, build or no build, anything that improves Harwich for the residents and promotes tourism and the wonderful town of Harwich can only be a good thing]

I had sent a mail to Mr Elliston ending with this paragraph.. “..So, let me state one thing for the record and you can quote me on this. If the Harwich Mayflower Project builds a seagoing replica ready to set sail to the US on 6th September 2020, I will stand on that ship while it’s in Harwich pier, walk the plank naked, and jump into the sea!”

 Re the final paragraph of your last email, perhaps it would be kinder not to build the ship, is Harwich ready for you naked!

A vice chair with a sense of humour, things are definitely looking up at the Project!!

Well that’s it from me for now. Huge thanks to Tony Elliston at the HMP for reaching out and allowing me access to info from the Trustees meeting.

2 comments

  1. Harwichcruiser

    Let’s hope that the community consultation meetings in future will be held at a time when residents are not at work – i.e. hold them in the evenings after 7.30pm or on a weekend.

  2. Wing Chan

    If a seaworthy ship ever gets built I will also jump into the sea with you, James. However, I am glad of the little bits of involvement I have had with the HMP . I was only really sucked in , because one of the retired trustees is Charles Bull, who I met in 2003, when I sailed into Harwich with the Replica Endeavour. As a side show of the HMP, me and some maties are planning to take soime 21st century young “Pilgrims” on a sail training voyage to Plymouth , Mass in 2020. This is easily achievable. Many sail training ships sailed across the Atlantic over the last few months for the Tall Ships Races.
    If there is anyone interested in this wacky sail training adventure, do drop me a note.
    James Kelly. What are you doing in the summer of 2020?
    Best Regards
    Wing
    wing@chinasta.org

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