Category: The Build

Yet another Harwich Mayflower Project director resigns.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a company with a bigger turnover of directors!  The latest to “resign” (after less than 5 months) is Jeffrey Fidgett.

28th JUNE. UPDATE:

It has been pointed out to me that Mr Fidgett did in fact resign due to a serious health issue. I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of myself and the thousands of readers and subscribers of this blog to wish him well and send him best wishes for a speedy recovery.

July Update. Yes, I know it’s June.

I usually try to do a half yearly update, but seeing as I wont be around for most of July and August, I’ve decided to do this a little early. Apologies for the hurried nature of the post and any errors, but I’m literally heading out the door!

The year started off as the last one ended, with no work of any sort taking place on a ship build. The HMP is a group of people with no shipbuilding experience based in a railway yard. Their staff consist of no shipwrights, and as such there continues to be no work of any sort on a build since 2014, and the current “build” consisting of a rapidly rotting part hull which has been deemed unusable (see below) still sits forlornly in the Railway Yard.

January: The chairman (Tom Daly*) “stands down” and Vice Chairperson (Lynda Chase-Gardner) “resigns” from the Project. Blanket reasons of “ill health” and “busy” are cited after they have gone but not attributed to either person. There was no further comment on why they left. But apparently they are still “advisers” to the Project.

February: The Harwich Mayflower Project loses it’s USA charity status, stating that they had “let it lapse”.

 February: The Harwich Mayflower has its Annual General Meeting. Apparently it was a very ‘lively” debate with the HMP of course standing their corner and apparently evading several probing questions and refusing to actually give direct answers to direct questions. Basically no one was any the wiser after the event than before it. As one attendee at the AGM said to me “A lot of those guys have great futures as politicians when they move on”

March: A Harwich resident sends the following to the Blog:

I’ve spent a lot of time around the project, looking over the walls nearly everyday; and I for one can’t understand these random side steps in progression with this project. If it’s failing, just admit it’s failing. Every article for the last 4 years covering this “community project” has shown it to be some god awful parody of what it perceives itself to be, some nautical historical Disney land. where the truth can only be described as “Carry on across the Atlantic”. Everything that goes slightly off target with it just gets the official response of “tis but a scratch” even though it’s had its arms chopped off and is standing on stumps, (don’t worry it’s official mayflower oak stumps, felled from the most holy of oak trees). The loss of charity status may not detriment it’s laughable income in donations from across the pond, but it does effect it’s status on the global stage as an “official” charity that wants to take place in these global 400 year anniversary celebrations that should be “bigger than all of the olympics and world cup games put together”, according to my last tour. I only want this project to seriously succeed so that when or if The Donald ever steps foot on it; I can at least watch them both sink together knowing that our backwater little town actually did something positive for the world.

But in all seriousness, I know my dreams of seeing this actually work out will never succeed because how can we take this seriously if it can’t get even the big business local to harwich itself on board? Where are those giant cheques from Hutchinsons or Trinity House, Where’s the list of businesses the HMP are on as official registered charities to lend it credence? Any small little idea can become a registered charity here in the UK. As far as i can see this has less substance, less impact on the local area, and less continual support from local business and credibility than a cat sanctuary that gets a few tins of cat food a week from Asda.

March: The local Harwich and Manningtree Standard  newspaper runs the following story.

Local council says “Harwich Mayflower Project no longer a major part of Harwich 2020 celebrations”

April: Still no sign of a ship build and the “temporary” closure of the Training school is still in place.

May: The HMP hold an “Open Session” for members of the public. A professional examiner of shipbuilding training was present at the meeting and stated the following:

“The build is not likely, especially as the structure as it stands would not pass scrutiny. Thus the build would have to start from scratch and I can’t see that happening”

The Project stated that they have set a cut off date of May 2018, which will see the Project unable to build a ship. It was said that if this is the case, the Project will revert to “Promotional activities” for the 2020 anniversary.

Questions were asked at the meeting,  such as “why is there such limited information” and “why are the opening hours so erratic” but apparently, all questions were met with a bland and well rehearsed “We will address your concerns”

Pretty routine stuff, but apparently things heated up when a member of the public was heard saying “Sean Day (staff) and Robert Day (Trustee) are well known local wide boys who should not be encouraged to continue with their plans”.

June: The Project’s opening hours are cut from 9-5 to 9-1. Maybe a lack of visitors? Their “New” website goes live.  They decide to use a framework I provided in 2015 and refuse to give me any credit. (see earlier post)

June: Another Director (Jeffrey Fidgett) resigns.

As of this post, and with the project stating they will “abandon all plans to build a ship if they do not have funding by March 2018″, I have to say that my optimism for a build has been practically extinguished. The Project’s current literature does seem to focus less on a build and more on a future consisting of a Harwich Heritage project. But as usual, I try to remain cautiously optimistic. As it has now been announced that the Project will be building an on shore replica, (which I forecasted in an earlier post) I am of the opinion that within a few months there will be an announcement of non committal to the original idea of a seagoing replica and the HMP will become little more than a Harwich museum.

*Tom Daly was one of the originators of the Harwich Mayflower Project back in 2006 or so (I may be a few years out either way). During my 18 months at the Project as a volunteer, I saw a great deal of Tom and spent a lot of time in his company. He is, in my opinion, one of the most personable and likeable men it has ever been my pleasure to meet. With his Irish lilt and obvious charm, he quickly became the front man for the Project. He made numerous TV and radio appearances and was often quoted in print talking about the Project. It is he who when asked by a TV reporter what would have happened if the ship hadn’t sailed, replied “Turkeys would be safe!” His devotion to the Project and the people of Harwich is unquestioned. Of course, I have no idea why he stepped down, but I’d still like to mention him here.

Several years ago I sat in on a meeting which Tom headed, discussing the future of the project. Without divulging any personal or HMP details, it is fair to say that by the end of the meeting, Tom’s love of the Project was obvious. He was close to tears when talking about the future of the Project and made an offer to pay any future shortfall in wages for Project workers from his own pocket, should the need arise. That is the measure of the man. His only thought was for the people working at the HMP and their immediate futures. In my opinion, Tom Daly was always only interested in what he could give to the HMP and how it would benefit the people of Harwich. He had no thought of making anything out of it for himself. I know from first hand experience the amount of time Mr Daly spent at the Project and I would assume (although I have no knowledge of it) that he also spent a lot of money on the Project as well.

Bearing this in mind, I find it amazing, and to be honest, a little sad, that the Project has so far made no public announcement thanking him for all his hard work after he stepped down. So with that in mind, I would like to publicly offer my own thanks.

Tom, thank you for all the hard work, time, and energy you put into the Project over the last ten or so years. Your presence as an honest and straightforward talking gentleman was a huge benefit to the HMP and I imagine it will be sorely missed. It was a pleasure to have known you and to have spent time in your company and the Mayflower Project is all the worse for your moving on. While I remain cautiously optimistic for a ship build, I think that without someone like you with your obvious love for the Project at the helm, someone who didn’t see what was in it for him, someone who wanted nothing more than to see the Ship floating alongside Harwich pier, and someone who put others before himself, I believe the build will be so much harder to achieve.

Again, from an ex volunteer. Thank you for everything you did for the HMP and for Harwich.

The “new” HMP Website

I don’t really have the time for this and wanted the six month update to be my last post before I head off for while, but…

I was recently asked by someone from the Project to explain why I was so vexed with what they are doing. I replied it was less being vexed and more a case of trying to balance the Project’s misinformation. But now, now I guess you could call me slightly vexed.

I try to stay impartial and objective with this blog and not let any personal feelings interfere with what I write here. So I’m apologising in advance for more of a personal blog than I usually write, and for what is basically a bit of a rant. But I feel that I need to speak out so as not to not allow myself to be taken advantage of.

The HMP have a “new” website which they are currently trumpeting, and is credited as the work of  “GSL”. I’ve tried to keep this post as short and concise as I can, so please bear with me. I have also had to include various messages here as proof of what transpired, in the knowledge that the HMP may try to say different, or say they “didn’t know”.

I feel a little back story is called for. I own a small IT company, and I have also coded, designed and currently run one of the biggest websites of its kind, regularly pulling in over 25million hits per month. So it’s safe to say I’m good at what I do and I know my job. During my time volunteering  at the HMP, I worked on their existing website to help update it as much as I could, even though I felt it was dated and hard to navigate. In mid 2015 I put a proposal to Sean Day of the HMP to upload a whole new website. One of the services my company provides is building bespoke websites for clients that can run into several months work. But for those who want a cheap, quick and easy option we offer a template service. Basically, we’ll obtain an existing template and simply copy and paste the clients info into it. This is what I proposed for the Project and presented them with a demo using a template called “SouthCentral”. The template is available here for $40 if you’re interested  https://wplift.com/theme/southcentral

I had put several of HMP’s images in the header and added paragraphs about the Project and what it was doing. I altered several of the areas and made them appropriate to the Project. I explained that it could be further enhanced by various plugins that could for example have tabbed browsing and even a shop. My idea was that this would be a more modern looking site and as it was all on one scrolling page, very straightforward and easy to navigate.

At this time there was a young man called Greg helping at the project. Greg is a friend of Mr Sean Day (staff) and still visits the Project today, he’s very IT savvy and keen to learn. I asked if he’d like to help me with the new website as he’d learn something about web design and how to use a WordPress template, things that might be handy to know. So I explained how it worked and he helped get the demo up and running. A little while later the full demo with HMP material added was shown to the HMP who liked it but eventually decided not to go with it. That wasn’t a problem, and a little while later I moved out of Harwich and back to London, leaving the Project behind. I then received a mail once I no longer helped out, mentioning the demo. This again acknowledges the Project is aware of the site I prepared….

Dear James,

Sean was with Gregory and I when I asked for the login [for the demo].  I would very much like to see the Mayflower Demo site – and that is why I asked Gregory for those login details – unless you have another way of showing it to me online?

Many thanks.

My reply (Oct 2015)  is below. I wasn’t going to just show this person what I’d done so they could copy it…

Over the last few months I have been working with [Greg] on a demo of a website which we believe would be a huge improvement on the current Harwich Mayflower site, in fact everyone who has seen it (including Mr. Day) has said that it is a fabulous achievement and a major improvement over what the Project currently has. In my professional opinion (as CEO of a server management and website design/hosting company with over 14 years experience) the current HMP site does nothing to promote the Project. The same must also be said for the Project’s social media output which to be honest, is lacklustre and amateurish at best.

I’m sure you will be aware of the positive impact a well designed website and managed social media can have on a company. You will also appreciate that a poorly managed media output will have a significantly negative impact on the same company.

From a recent conversation I had with [Greg] it would seem that you have asked for details of the new ‘Frame’. I’m assuming this refers to the ‘Mayflower Demo’ project which [Greg] and myself are working on. The demo which we have put together is an example of our work and is not in the public domain. It is to be used to show what we can do for the Project and to enlighten the Project as to how our work is a major improvement on what you have at the moment.

 

On previously seeing the demo, Mr Sean Day (staff) said via mail (again proof of the demo website)

…looking at the demo this is already much better than previous.

Now, fast forward 2 years and the Project unveils a “New” site by GSL. Imagine my surprise when I realised the website is using the SouthCentral template I originally submitted and is basically a photocopy of what I had worked on and shown as a demo in 2015. All that has been updated is the news and images, which I guess is to be expected after two years. I contacted Greg and asked about the site… [images can be clicked on to enlarge]  This is confirmation that I did indeed work on the demo site and it was the basis for the “new’ site.

Yep it IS only fair. “Don’t mention anything about James”? Wow, Really? well if nothing else, it’s proof that the Project admits it knew I worked on the site but wanted to keep my name out of it.

The following is confirmation that Greg is indeed the “GSL” that worked on this “New” site.

In a nutshell, I supplied the canvas, the brushes, a paint by numbers picture and explained how to do the painting, then someone came along, bought their own canvas,  copied my picture, put a splotch of colour on my work and called it their own while protesting “But I bought my own canvas!” I did ask for a credit, but in all honesty I think there’s more chance of the Harwich Mayflower Project building a ship. I’d rather just let people know how this “new” site came into being.  If nothing else, this has taught me two things. Greg is easily led and somewhat naive, and the Project’s ideals don’t seem to have changed since I moved on. I have contacted Greg and asked for some form of credit on the site, but after a week of asking, that request has been ignored. Of course, the basic template is freely available to purchase by anyone to do what they want with, including the Project, and it was purchased. But ownership of a template isn’t the issue here. The issue is that without using my knowledge, input, ideas and work on the demo, there would be no new site. They wouldn’t even know about this template, never mind how to set the thing up. They could have used a different template, or coded their own site from scratch, but they went down the easier route of using what I had previously given them. So a thank you and a small credit would’ve been appreciated. Too much to ask? I think not.

Again, apologies for what is more of a personal post than usual.

 

Mayflower Project “Open Session” report.

While I could not attend the recent Harwich Mayflower Project Open Session, there were people there who have contacted me with reports.

A professional examiner of shipbuilding training was present at the meeting and stated the following:

“The build is not likely, especially as the structure as it stands would not pass scrutiny. Thus the build would have to start from scratch and I can’t see that happening”

The representative of the Project denied this was the case, but it did emerge that they have set a cut off date of May 2018, which will see the Project unable to build a ship. It was said that if this is the case, the Project will revert to “Promotional activities” for the 2020 anniversary.

While I myself do not have a history of ships or shipbuilding, ( and neither it seems do the Harwich Mayflower Project as  public records show their Trustees vary from “retired” to “woodlands manager” ,  “Ex wing commander” and “Hotelier” the  youngest being 63 and the eldest 74 as of 2017. I believe the staff of 2 or 3 also consist of nobody with any history of shipbuilding or the business of building ships either) I am becoming more and more of the opinion that the Mayflower Project will probably end up as a Heritage Centre for Harwich and simply promote Harwich during the 2020 celebrations.

But as usual I remain cautiously optimistic.Several questions were asked at the meeting,  such as “why is there such limited information” and “why are the opening hours so erratic” but apparently, questions were met with a bland and well rehearsed “We will address your concerns”
Pretty routine stuff, but apparently things heated up when someone was heard saying “Sean Day (staff) and Robert Day (Trustee) are well known local *wide boys who should not be encouraged to continue with their plans”. Now while I have no knowledge of Robert Day (apart from once overhearing “The best thing about him is that he’s not his brother Sean” )  I did spend 18 months in the company of Sean while I was a volunteer.

It would seem that in the lack of any concrete information coming from this meeting, the one thing we can take from it is that as of this month, it seems the HMP have a year to get funding in place. Fingers crossed.

*For my American followers, Wikipedia states that Wide boy is a British term for a man who lives by his wits, wheeling and dealing.

Harwich Mayflower Project, Open Session.

The Harwich Mayflower Project has announced an Open Session to allow  “people with concerns about the Project to question a Trustee” (taken from Harwich and Manningtree Standard Fri 12th May). If you are local and have any concerns, please attend.

The time and date of the session is Thursday May 18th at 9.30am. A time when most people who have any concerns may be at work. But, the Project has of course set up a special email address where anyone with a concern can send in their questions… Oh wait, they haven’t.

So, please be prepared for the Project’s announcement of “We asked for people with concerns to turn up and only 2 arrived”.  Why was this not set for a time in the evening when the people of Harwich could actually be there.  Surely one of the Trustees, who are mostly retired individuals, can spare a few hours in the evening to meet members of the public? The same public that they are taking donations from.  As I’ve said before, it’s not rocket science is it?

I for one can’t be there, but if anyone who is reading this can be there, could you please ask a question for me?  “Dear Trustee, as there has been no ship build since 2014 and you have been, and are still taking donations from the public for a “Build” which is non-existent at the moment, can you please state (with records to back it up) what these donations from the public have been used for?”

Now that this question is in the public domain, the Project will no doubt have their usual “politician style” prepared answer ready.

There are of course lots of unanswered questions concerning this “Charity”, but they’re best left for members of the public to ask on Thursday.

 

Mayflower Project Band Saw for Sale.

Well I guess the Project is struggling for cash a little more than I suspected. Why else would they be selling their large industrial saw that’s used to chop through tree trunks?  Surely it’ll be needed for when the funds come rolling in and they start building the ship?  Or then again, maybe after the local council told them they are no longer a major part of the 2020 celebrations, they’ve decided to downsize? Who knows.

Anyways, in an effort to help them out, I’m going to give them a little free publicity in the hope they can sell it. It’s available on ebay if you’re interested and here’s the screen shot.

Local council says “Harwich Mayflower Project no longer a major part of Harwich 2020 celebrations”

While the HMP still has no funding after setting up in 2010 and trying since then to gain funding, the piece further down the page has come from the local paper, The Harwich and Manningtree Standard. Dated 13th March ’17.

On a funding note, while the HMP ( a small group of amateurs trying to build a ship) has stated the build will cost £4 Million, here is what the professional boat builders at Mystic Seaport that are refurbishing Mayflower II have to say:

Experts determined the 106-foot (MayflowerII) ship is in surprisingly decent shape for a wooden vessel exposed to six decades’ worth of the elements. That’s good news, because junking the ship and building a new Mayflower from scratch — an option once under consideration — would have cost $15 million. (approx. 12 million pounds)

Click here  to view the  original story this quote came from, which also includes a lovely link to a live webcam of the MayflowerII  being refurbished. Well worth a look!

 

*****From The Harwich and Manningtree Standard. March 13th 2017*******

A PROJECT to build a replica of the ship that sailed the Pilgrim Fathers to America is no longer being viewed as a major part of Harwich’s plan for the Mayflower 2020 celebrations.

The Mayflower Project, based in George Street, aims to build a full-sized ocean-going replica of the Mayflower in time for the 400th anniversary of the voyage.

But following fears over whether the ship will be ready in time for the celebrations, town councillors said the project will now simply be viewed as a bonus to the Harwich and Dovercourt Tourism Group’s plans for the anniversary.

Speaking at a meeting of the town council on Tuesday, resident Dr Terry Rogers said: “We were told the build would commence in September 2016.

“At the Mayflower’s annual meeting it was made clear that currently they had no significant funds available and no build could start until funding was in place.

“It was further stated that £3million was being negotiated from a major media company.

“No date was given for the completion of the negotiation.”

Mr Rogers said that at the AGM, the chairman stood down and that the vice-chairman has since resigned.

He added: “Has the time come for Harwich Town Council to encourage a reshaping of the tourism plan with the Mayflower Project essentially disregarded, but seen as a bonus to the plan if an ocean ready boat does get built?”

Town councillor Ivan Henderson said it would “inappropriate” for the council to interfere with Mayflower Project’s business, but said the tourism group is “very clear” that Harwich has a lot to gain from the 2020 celebrations.

He added: “The tourism group sees the Mayflower Project as a bonus to the Mayflower 2020 celebration and that’s how we have been planning things with Tendring Council.

“Harwich has got enough history to develop a really good plan for a celebration to go ahead when the time comes.

“There’s plenty going on and plenty to celebrate without one particular project.

“But it has always been our hope that the project can go ahead.”

Ian Davidson, the district council’s chief executive, stressed that the Mayflower Project was “always only one part” of the Mayflower 2020 celebrations and that the whole aim of the project is to encourage tourism for years to come.

But Fred Nicholls, the new chairman of the Mayflower Project, said he is still hopeful that the boat can be built.

“We accept it’s very difficult to build the vessel, but we have not given up,” he said.

“We are in negotiations with some high profile companies and if we get the funds the ship will be built on time – it’s purely a question of funding.

“There have been funding problems with the Mayflower Project, however, we are doing everything in our power to rectify it.”

I’m getting tired of this now…

Oh dear, another message from the Project. I think I must be rattling their cage. Or to quote the immortal bard, “Methinks they doth protest too much”. I’m getting more than a little tired of this nonsense. Their message is in italics and my reply is in standard font.

 

Dear Mr Kelly,
FACTS. You wrongly address your blog to Mr Day. The authors of our last response were the Trustees of the Harwich Mayflower Project. We are disturbed that you are addressing these points to him – please desist in using the wrong addressees and causing unnecessary distress.

Facts? You guys wouldn’t know a fact if you fell over it. Here’s the “Facts”. Your latest message was sent from Sean.day@harwichmayflower.com who is not a trustee. if you want to send messages as trustees, get a trustee address and stop using a staff address. it’s not rocket science is it?

Also, you say I wrongly addressed my blog to Mr. Day. Please see the screenshot below.

 

As usual, you guys have skewed the truth to suit yourselves. The original message was from “Sean for the Trustees” The address was sean.day@harwichmayflower.com. As such that was who the reply was addressed to and where the reply went, to be passed on to the trustees. “Distress”? Yep, I’m sure poor Mr Day had to sit down with a strong cup of tea and had to take a few days off work after receiving an email. Poor soul.  Again, if  the trustees want to send messages as the trustees, get an address. trustees@harwichmayflower.com would do the job.  Once again, I shouldn’t have to tell you this.

The 2016 Newsletter was posted on our website – please look again.

I would if I could get access to your website. It has been unavailable for a while now (apparently according to google “this site may be hacked”) and as of this message, I still cannot gain access to your site as it is unavailable. How hard is it to use social media to give people information? Especially when your site has been down for so long.

Thank you for your summary of the project’s past but nothing you have said is new to us but of course you always skew the story. All of the potential benefits of sponsorship and donations require machinery which is built only with financial resources. We repeat, that sponsorship remains our primary target and if you can help then we would be grateful. Otherwise your negativity is not wanted.

 

Of course it’s not new, you’re continually rehashing the same old thing, and as for skewing the story, please do not judge me by your own low standards. I have presented nothing here but facts. Directors have stepped down followed by the vice director. You decided not to renew US charity status, the training centre has closed, the build (what there is of it) stalled in 2014 and has not recommenced. There is no build happening for people to come and see. etc. etc. What part of that truth is skewed? My being honest and reporting information you refuse to, is not negative. Your hiding the facts and lying to the public is negative.

Your assertion that the Heritage Centre’s costs would be better deployed on the ship build is noted but again wrong. We had no choice as the Heritage Centre costs were ring-fenced by local authorities and a family trust. Please re-read our website so that you are better informed.

You chose to build a heritage centre. You were not told to do so by local authorities. It was your choice to solicit funds for that project. It was your choice to get funds for a visitor centre and not for the ship. As you see, I am very well informed and again, I’d love to visit your website, but it remains unavailable.

In view of your irritation and constant criticism of the Harwich Mayflower Project, your failure to recognise the efforts of those making an honourable and proper contribution to Harwich and the local area as well as your insulting our staff we have come to the decision to cease all communication with your Ship’s Blog. This sort of behaviour has sadly become rife by bloggers world-wide from behind the closed curtains of the internet – we will not be part of it.

Trustees
Harwich Mayflower Project

I have (until your recent vitriolic messages) never criticised the project. I just pass on information you refuse to. Seeing as I was a volunteer for 18 months, I more than recognise the efforts of those at the project, especially the poor misguided volunteers. But I’m also very much aware from my time there that you guys couldn’t run a bath, never mind a multi million project. Yep, NOW I’m being negative.  I have never insulted the staff and as usual, you say all this but provide no proof, because there is none. You have never been part of this blog nor have you ever been asked to. The very fact I can be independent and report the things you’d rather have swept under the carpet is because you are NOT a part of it. And thank God for that! As for bloggers and rife behaviour, it is due to freedom of speech that these “bloggers” you mentioned have been able to highlight corruption and illicit practices that would not otherwise have been made public. Personally, I think that a good thing. Maybe you don’t?

As I have always said. I am cautiously optimistic for the build, and live in hope that a large corporation will come along, kick you all out and do the job that you are so obviously unable to do. Please desist in contacting me with your propaganda and drivel, I’m finding it continually difficult to stomach it. You guys carry on believing your own publicity and spouting nonsense and I’ll carry on following what’s actually happening and passing it on. I wish you all well, especially the poor “distressed” Mr Day.

Kind regards.

James Kelly

 

 

Some comments about The Project.

I was going to put a few comments here, because although they are placed on the side bar over there, a lot of people still miss them. I’d advise you to have a look to gauge the general feeling of people, both here and in the US.  But, I received a comment a few hours back that I think is straightforward, pithy, and so very well written with lovely snatches of humour that it deserves a platform all of its own.

Crimsonseas, I salute you.

—————-

I’ve spent a lot of time around the project, looking over the walls nearly everyday; and I for one can’t understand these random side steps in progression with this project. If it’s failing, just admit it’s failing. Every article for the last 4 years covering this “community project” has shown it to be some god awful parody of what it perceives itself to be, some nautical historical disney land. where as the truth can only be described as “Carry on across the Atlantic”. Everything that goes slightly off target with it just gets the official response of “tis but a scratch” even though it’s had its arms chopped off and is standing on stumps, (don’t worry it’s official mayflower oak stumps, felled from the most holy of oak trees). The loss of charity status may not detriment it’s laughable income in donations from across the pond, but it does effect it’s status on the global stage as an “official” charity that wants to take place in these global 400 year anniversary celebrations that should be bigger than all of the olympics and world cup games put together, according to my last tour. I only want this project to seriously succeed so that when or if The Donald ever steps foot on it; I can at least watch them both sink together knowing that our backwater little town actually did something positive for the world.

But in all seriousness, I know my dreams of seeing this actually work out will never succeed because how can we take this seriously if it can’t get even the big business local to harwich itself on board? Where are those giant cheques from Hutchinsons or Trinity House, Where’s the list of businesses the HMP are on as official registered charities to lend it credence? Any small little idea can become a registered charity here in the UK. As far as i can see this has less substance, less impact on the local area, and less continual support from local business and credibility than a cat sanctuary that gets a few tins of cat food a week from Asda.

If anyone from HMP is reading this, perhaps it’s time you stop sniffing wood glue, you’re clearly more high than your neighbours in bathside.

——-

EDITORIAL COMMENT: This blog does not condone the sniffing of wood glue, or any other substances used to fix wood together. We might like a drink now and again on a Friday night, and maybe a bag of pork scratchings, but that’s where we draw the line… OK there was that one time when someone said I could get a buzz from licking a frog, but I’m not counting that.

Communication from Harwich Mayflower.

Isn’t it always the way. You hear from nobody for ages and then (like buses) they all come together. After hearing from a journalist a few days ago who is  doing a piece on the Mayflower Project, I received a message from a Mr Sean Day on behalf of the Trustees of the Project. The message in it’s entirety is below, followed by my reply.


RESPONSE TO THE SHIP’S BLOG OF FEB 17

Dear Mr Kelly,

Thank you for your continuing interest in the Harwich Mayflower Project and we are pleased that you remain cautiously optimistic for our build. As you know we are but a small band of enthusiasts who simply want to build a Mayflower replica and sail her across the Atlantic in 2020. We have time but our most pressing requirement – and always has been – is the need for a big sponsor. This is a £4m project and needs serious money. So far we have had the benefit of some generous benefactors to help us cover operating costs but this cannot go on for we need to build. You should bear in mind that much has been done as indicated in our (end of) 2016 Newsletter. As with any such enterprise there are overheads to be paid for; there is ground rent, utility payments, licences, insurances and wages for our handful of staff.

As far as the 501(C) 3 is concerned, yes it is advantageous but we have to apply a cost/benefit analysis to our spending commitments and the renewal of that US tax exemption would cost us $3,000 as recently quoted to us. When we have more funds we can revisit that as an investment overhead. In the meantime our staff and Trustees are working tirelessly trying to obtain donations and funding but during these austere times it is an uphill battle. Our hardworking folk, including volunteers, do not need sniping or negativity from afar or even from the couple of detractors in Harwich. It is hurtful not only to us but also to the Project. There is nothing untoward or “funny going on” in what we are doing and our accounts are properly lodged as required by Charity legislation.

Finally, by all means watch the Project with interest but please bear in mind the bigger picture. We are updating our web site with what we are doing and there will be more news in the next month or so. If you or your cohorts can help with positive ideas or suggestions then we will be willing to listen intently. We welcome visits to the yard but aggressive and groundless criticisms are unhelpful and counter-productive.

Trustees,

Harwich Mayflower Project

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Dear Mr Day.

Thank you for finally contacting me, a month after I sent an email asking about the ship build. I see you still refuse to answer any questions about when and if the build will commence. I’ll ask again, what are your plans to build a ship and when do you see this starting?

There was a 2016 newsletter? You’ll have to excuse my not seeing the notifications of that on your social media or website. You did let people know there was a newsletter? Talking of news, I have garnered one piece of information from your email that I was unaware of. After seven years of trying, you are no closer to getting the funds for the ship than you were when you started. Austerity? I’m surprised you didn’t blame Brexit as well!

I want to commend you for actually taking the time to reply to a member of the public, but I would like to also take you to task on the final paragraph of your message. “Cohorts”? I’m assuming this refers to the thousand plus people that follow my blog each month. Or the hundreds of subscribers. Or the people of Harwich that read my blog and are exasperated by your continual lack of information and refusal to answer the most basic of questions. Or maybe it refers to the gentleman from Mystic Seaport that contacted me, or the boat owner who moors in Harwich and wanted to know what was going on. Or maybe the American journalist who thought the project had gone “Kaput” because there is no information coming form you and turned to me for information? Whatever. I also take exception to your assumption of “negativity” and “groundless criticism”. My blog has been, and remains so, a place to follow progress of the Project and inform people as to what is happening. I have as you point out at the start of your message, always been cautiously optimistic and remain so even in the face of the continuing rubbish and downright lies emanating from yourselves. If there is any negativity surrounding the project, it is unfortunately due to the Project itself.

What’s hurtful to the Project is not the public seeking answers, it’s your continued refusal to let people know what is happening and acting like a secret society instead of a public charity. If you continue to hide away and refuse to be honest and open, that Mr Day, will be more hurtful to your project than any blog. You will find no negative, groundless or aggressive comments in my blog. I am simply passing on information that you yourselves do not.

For example. Mr Tom Daly, one of the originators of the HMP has stepped down as a director after seven or so years. This is a man who has contributed endless hours of time and money to the Project, yet you can’t find it in you to make a post online (web, social media) thanking him for all he’s done. Seriously?

The training centre closed “temporarily” and remains closed a year later.

Also. There has been and continues to be, no ship build since 2014. Stop telling people there is a build. There isn’t. Stop telling them to come and see the build progress, there isn’t any.

You refuse to pay $3000 to get US charity status. Are you crazy? You pay tens of thousands for a visitor centre but can’t get the cash for US charity status? You do realise that the Mayflower is a HUGE part of American history? You are aware that every American schoolchild is taught the story? You are aware that every American adult knows the name Mayflower? You do know that there are 35 million people in the US descended from the original 24 males on the Mayflower? Yet you decide to not get US charity status? Ok here’s a criticism for you. You’re idiots!

As for positive ideas Mr Day, here you go. Get your act together. Put up or shut up. If after seven years you still can’t get funding to build a ship, then you should step down and get someone in who can. If you can build it, then do it, if you can’t, have the balls to say so and move on.  At the very least you should let people know what the hell is happening behind the murals of the Harwich Railway Yard.

Kind regards

James Kelly (and cohorts)

theshipsblog.net