As you’ve no doubt noticed, I have not had the time recently to update this blog, only popping in once every few months to do a bit of ‘housekeeping’.
Although The Harwich Mayflower Heritage Centre/Project is no longer building a sea going ship, it does seem to be promoting a land based build and a railway museum. Hopefully both these endeavours will fare better than the “Ship build” which sadly came to nothing.
It’s a crying shame that such a wonderful idea of building a sea going Mayflower replica in Harwich and sailing it to the USA never really got off the ground. What a wonderful and absolutely magical thing that would have been, standing on Ha’penny Pier and watching the ship sail away. But that’s all in the past now. Maybe it was bad management, maybe it was a lack of foresight, or maybe it was something else that prevented the build, but (after being at the place for 18 months) I can certainly say it wasn’t due to a lack of enthusiastic staff. The shipwright and carpenters were amazing people and highly skilled, as were the staff at the Training centre (now sadly closed). As for the people at the helm, well most have moved on now, but a few still remain and I hope to God they do a better job with the museum than they did with the “build” and learn from their mistakes.
Some of my fondest memories of the Mayflower Project were of the people on the “shop floor” and how hard they worked to make it a success. But the one memory that I will take away from my time there is of one man in particular. Tom Daley. I sat in on a meeting one Monday morning, there was a long table with all the staff seated around it and Tom was seated at the top. The meeting was to discuss finances and how the Project was on the verge of being unable to stay afloat financially. It looked like there wasn’t enough funding to pay wages. Tom gave a stirring speech for several minutes about what the Mayflower meant to him, and how he knew what it meant to the people around the table. As the tears welled up in his eyes, he promised there and then that any shortfall in wages for the foreseeable future would be made from his own pocket. I’ve never seen such passion and honesty from someone. I was pretty close to tears myself. I walked out of that meeting wanting to find and hammer and some nails and start building the ship myself!! I’m pretty sure if the Project consisted of three Tom Daleys at the helm, it would have been built and been the success we all wanted it to be.
Harwich is a wonderful town, with an amazing maritime history. It (and it’s residents) deserve nothing but the best, I hope the HMHC can deliver on their promises this time.
As for me, well I’m signing off. I no longer have the time to update this page. I’ve become involved with an MS charity and spend my time raising funds to fight MS. That is what is taking my time now. In the last few years I’ve cycled over 3000 miles coast to coast across the US. I’ve cycled along the coast of Ireland, and taken my bike from Lands end to John o’ Groats and back again. Tens of thousands of pounds have been raised and I’ve been able to meet patients and see the good my money is doing. So as I plan a bicycle ride around Europe, I want to say thank you to the thousands of people that have read this blog over the years and those who have taken the time to comment.
This blog will remain online, but will no longer be updated. I am closing my email and will not come back here with any further updates.