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.


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.


Harwich Mayflower Project


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)

Mayflower Project loses USA charity status. Chair and vice chair step down.

“loss of 501(c)(3) status can be highly challenging to a charity’s continued operation, as many foundations and corporate matching programs do not grant funds to a charity without such status, and individual donors often do not donate to such a charity due to the unavailability of the deduction.”

It appears from the Harwich Mayflower website as well as various US Gov sites, that they have lost their US charity status. This comes in a few weeks when there has been a flurry of activity at the project, which includes the chairman stepping down and then the vice chairman stepping down as well.

While I remain cautiously optimistic that the project will one day build the ship as promised, I have to be honest, with time ticking by and their continued refusal to talk to members of the public (the same public that they are asking for donations) I’m of the opinion that the build may not end up as originally envisioned.  Maybe they’ll drop the ship build and just become a Harwich Heritage centre, maybe they’ll get pieces built off site and build it like a kit, maybe they’ll scale it down and build a model in dry dock, maybe they’ll just continue to stumble along as they are? Who knows, apparently not even the project themselves.

Although my email to them asking about the build was opened and read at 10.29pm on February 2nd, they have of course not replied. No, I’m not surprised either. Let’s remember that these people are a charity asking for help from the public, yet continue to refuse to give any information to the public on what they are doing.

Seriously, how hard is it? Come on guys, get your act together. You’re either building a ship or you’re not. As time goes on you’re losing more and more credibility, to the point where people are beginning to think that there’s something “funny” going on. Remember the old saying:

You can fool some of the people some of the time, but most people can see through you. 🙂


AGM Update.

An update to the last post:

The Project have publicly released the minutes of their recent AGM meeting and for those of you who haven’t seen them, I have repeated them below. In a meeting that lasted “20” minutes and with “no other business.”  you won’t be surprised to see that the Project decided to omit the questions from the floor at the meeting. One can only ponder why that was?

while I’m making this post, I want to mention the two gentlemen that contacted me for information about the build and its ongoing progress. I have of course replied to you both and thank you for contacting me, especially the gentleman from the east coast of the US. It seems to be a damning verdict on the Project, that both these people contacted me saying “there was no information available anywhere about the build apart from your blog.”


Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Harwich Mayflower Project


1st February 2017 at 6pm

The Heritage Centre, Harwich Mayflower Project

Apologies: Jeffrey Fidgett (Trustee) Charles Bull (Trustee)


John Acton (Trustee) Tony Wilding (Staff)
Fred Nicholls (Trustee) Liz Comley (Volunteer)
Robert Day (Trustee) Keith Thompson (Volunteer)
Tom Daly (Trustee, Chair) Terry Rogers (Public)
Lynda Chase-Gardener (Trustee, Vice Chair) Cheryl Thompson (Public)
Sean Day (Staff) K Jennings (Public)
Ashley Purvis (Staff) E Clapton (Public)
Graham Richardson (Staff) R Maughan (Public)


The meeting was opened by the Chairman at 6.00 pm, the notice having been read.


  1. Lynda Chase-Gardener (LCG) proposed and Fred Nicholls (FN) seconded a motion that the accounts for year ending 31 March 2016 together with the Board of Directors and Trustees report. Approved
  1. John Acton (JA) proposed and (FN) seconded a motion that the Trustees be permitted to appoint an Independent Financial Examiner for the ensuing year. Approved
  1. LCG proposed and (FN) seconded a motion that the Board be authorised to fix the remuneration of the Independent Financial Examiner. Approved.
  1. Tom Daly (TD) retired as Chair and Trustee and did not seek reappointment. The Chair was then taken by LCG as Vice Chair. LCG thanked TD for the time he has been involved in the project, being a voice, locally, nationally and internationally; that he has been a true ambassador of the project and will be missed although he will remain as an advisor.
  1. There were no items of any other business raised and LCG closed the meeting at 6.20 pm.

Harwich Mayflower Project AGM

The Harwich Mayflower has recently held it’s Annual General Meeting, and while I was unable to be there, I have been contacted by several people who were.

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”

It seems that the project is still reluctant to provide any information and continues to keep local residents and those further afield, in the dark about the build and how (if) and when it will progress. As such I have sent the following open email to the project and await their reply.


Dear Harwich Mayflower Project,

In the interests of local residents and those further afield that are interested in your statement to build a seagoing replica of the Mayflower, and while receiving a continued lack of information and complete opaqueness from yourselves, I would like to ask you to provide some answers and/or comments to the questions below. If you decide to reply, please be aware that the reply will be made public on, an online independent web log that follows the intended build of the ship.

While building of the ship stopped in 2014, and although the project has falsely stated in print since then that “shipbuilding can be viewed”, there has been no build since that date and nothing has been added to the build in the railway yard since 2014. Can you please tell me what  the current status of the build is and what the current build plan is moving forward.

With only 723 work days from the 1st March 2017 until the 1st of Jan 2020 (3 years) are you still adamant that the build will be completed within two years and if so, again can you give details?

The training centre closed “temporarily” in 2016.  If you are aware this is a temporary closure, can you give any idea as to when it will reopen?

Can you provide solid figures (and proof of such) of visitor numbers and what do you estimate future visitors to be now that several cruise liners are no longer operating to Harwich and there are only a few left. Again please give solid facts to back up your projections.

What is your current state of funding?

Do you have any kind of a  business plan for approaching large businesses and corporations for funding and if so what is it? Also, have you contacted the National Lottery again since your first attempt at funding with them was declined, and if so what was the outcome?

Your social media does not reflect the the build, frequently just reposting messages. Are there plans to use this medium to actually inform people of progress at the Project? If not, why not.

What was the total cost of the new Visitor Centre  and why was this funding not put towards the ship build. What are the future plans for this building that many see as an unnecessary expense. It is a seemingly nice idea for a flourishing tourist hub, but it is currently vacant and apparently filled with large poorly designed tapestry-like items showing the most basic of information.

While you continue to solicit donations for “building a boat” and with no ship build happening since 2014, can you please tell me what these donations have been used for?

If you continue to regard members of the public asking questions and looking for answers as “negative” how do you intend to move forward?

Kind regards

New Year snippet

The first post of the New Year and hopefully a year which will see the Harwich Mayflower Project start the ship build.

I received an email from a Harwich resident over the Christmas period which advised me that I should have  mentioned the ‘positives’ of the Harwich Mayflower Project in the last year while making my End of Year Post. Specifically the fact that the Project won tens of thousands of pounds in funding from the local council to build their new visitor centre.

I am of course happy to put the record straight and would like to use this post to congratulate the Harwich Mayflower project on securing the funds from the local council, which I’m sure were hotly contested with other well deserving charities in the area.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the latest December appointments to the Mayflower Project board of directors. Mr. Fred Nicholls, who was previously chairman of the local council and Mr Robert Day, who was also a member of the local council.

I hope these new additions to the board of directors will help steer the project to much prosperity and the multiple millions of funding that one would assume is needed to progress the build.

Finally, a belated Happy New Year to all my readers. Once again thank you for all your kind words and supportive mail over 2016. It’s much appreciated.

End of Year update. Harwich Mayflower Project a year behind schedule.

Before I round up this year, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for making this blog as popular as it is and for your continuing comments and emails. It is especially encouraging to get so much feedback from those of you across the pond.

As 2016 comes to an end, I’m going to do my usual end of year update and sadly report that as usual, nothing appears to be happening at the Mayflower Project. The part build which has stalled since 2014 still lies rotting in the Railway yard.

I had hoped that after their last message to this blog, someone from the Project would contact me to inform me and the readers just why there has been no progress in the build since 2014 and what the future holds. But as in the past, the project seemingly refuses to release any information at all, keeping their donators and the people of Harwich firmly in the dark.

Talking of their last message. I believe a Mr Sean day accused me of writing “ill informed garbage”. I’d just like to post a little comment here and leave you to make up your own mind about who’s talking garbage. On may 16th 2016 the Project gave an interview to British Heritage with the following statements in print:

“…go to The Railyard on George Street where you can watch the shipbuilding in action.”

“Shipbuilding began earlier this year”

Ms Lynda Chase-Gardener, a director of the Project, previously stated in the local press that the build would start in January 2016 after work ceased in 2014. Since work on the build stopped in 2014, and indeed right up to today, no work has been undertaken on the build. So why would the project say in print in May 2016 that work had started “earlier in the year” when they were fully aware it hadn’t? Why would they say “watch the shipbuild” when they were aware there was no build? I’ll leave you to make up your own mind on that. Also with a reported start to the build in Jan 2016, and nothing being built, it appears they are now a year behind their planned schedule.

The piece also said “Sea trials are planned for 2018”  With no build in progress as we head into 2017 and the Project reporting they have been told it is a 2 year build, even my very basic maths can see a little issue there. Best put those plans on hold guys!

There was also a nice picture of a scale model which the Project has built. A model which may have a disliking for water. It’s been alleged that pieces of it began to fall of when it was recently displayed at a Harwich festival when it rained. Let’s think on that shall we? Ships… Water…

2016 also saw the closure of the training centre. Although touted as a “temporary” closure, there is still no news on when it is expected to re-open.

But as one door closes another opens and the Project unveiled a new visitor centre which was built using local government funding and as far as I know, no donations. So, no training centre and no ship build, but a new visitor centre. It’s not all bad!

Away from the ship build, papers were filed on 11th of November 2016 for “Termination of appointment of director”. Of course I have no idea who is leaving or why, but I feel it only fair to pass on the information. With several directors on the board, it is of course normal for them to come and go, so nothing should be inferred from this information.

As time goes on and we get closer and closer to 2020, it becomes a little worrying that the Project will be able to fulfil their promise of an ocean going replica, without a huge financial injection and a large labour force. As the year comes to a close, let’s hope they can get both.. and pretty quickly!

The Harwich Mayflower Project speaks!!!

I have recently been contacted by Mr Sean Day, a representative of the Harwich Mayflower Project. I have copied his message in its entirety below. I have not added or removed any of his comments, I have however added my replies to his comments in bold.


From Mr. Sean Day. Harwich Mayflower Project:

So much ill-informed garbage is written on this site about the Project, we hope this response will be published.

This blog has not made any accusations or made assumptions, even though there is absolutely no info coming from the project.  I have followed the build where I could and when there was no build I asked what was happening. I have only asked for the Project to be open in their dealings and inform people what is happening with the project. Mr Day, I am more than happy for you to comment again with examples of the “Garbage” you mentioned and I’m offering you the opportunity to put the record straight.

Everyone involved with the project is working very hard to put together a lasting legacy for Harwich. Being an ambitious project it is not without its hurdles but we still believe we will do it. It will be achieved with the help of all our ever growing number of valued supporters who understand what we are trying to do.

“Supporters who understand what you are trying to do”.  Maybe they’re “Supporters who are blind to what you are trying to do”?

I agree that a lasting legacy for Harwich is indeed a noble thing. But being totally transparent and letting the good people of Harwich know what is being done at the Project and where their money is going is just as noble. How about it Mr Day, write back to me and tell me when and how you plan to start building the ship and what you’ve done with the near one million pounds you’ve received over the last few years, because it’s not been used to build a ship has it. What exactly are your plans? I am publicly asking you via this blog to explain just what is happening at the Project and why you continually give out misinformation. I and the hundreds of followers and thousand of readers of this blog eagerly await your reply.

The author of this blog got the hump when we decided it was premature to pay a huge sum for a new website he wanted to sell us. We have offered confidential briefings to update him but he has refused to come and talk to us, preferring fourth hand gossip. It’s so easy to be negative.

What a thoroughly nasty, arrogant and deceitful little man you are. You know as well as I do that when I moved out of Harwich, I could no longer come to the project. You seem to have forgotten however that in my 16 months or so there as a volunteer (time which was given for free) I took photos for you, worked on your website, showed tours around, set up your internet system, ran the visitor centre for a week while you were on holiday, spent my own funds to purchase domain names for you, installed an alarm system for free at the visitor centre, helped out at various fayres, and gave up entire weekends to help out at donation pushes.

I got the “hump”. Really? I run my own IT company and offered you my services to update and redesign your website for free. You refused the offer. So later I offered again and gave you a full proposal which was priced at less than you paid for your current website. As I said, I don’t visit the Project because I no longer live in Harwich. “Hump”? No Mr Day I moved, simple as that.  But saying I moved  wont paint me as a villain will it? 

You or any other representatives of the Project have NEVER contacted me to offer any kind of briefing at all. Like so much of what comes out of the Project, that is a blatant lie. I challenge you Mr Day to provide copies of any mail in which you contacted me and offered such a proposal. Several people have left the project and while you might put across why they left, they have no voice. Your one and only shipwright left as well, so now you have no one qualified to build a ship, should it ever happen. You now hope to rubbish me and this blog in an effort to blind people to your lack of openness and your constant lies and misinformation concerning where funds are going and when the build will start. There are two sides to every story, but in your case there’s only one. Your side. It’s so easy to be deceitful.


Harwich and the Project are very important participants in the preparation of the commemorations for the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower. We are working closely with national organisations, Mayflower 400 and other parties to make 2020 a year to remember for Harwich and the U.K.

We have a plan and programme supported by accredited professionals that shows the Ship can be ready by 2020. We like to believe the professionals not gossip.

Brilliant! Show it to us, tell us what this proposal is. We like to believe what we hear, but when we hear nothing. what is there for us to believe. Gossip? There has been no ship build in two years, yet you continue to take funds from the public for the “build”. You have not provided any information to the public or your donators regarding progress of the build or how the funds are being spent. That is not gossip Mr Day, it’s fact.

Our visitor numbers are increasing and the international interest in what we are creating is very encouraging. Our new Visitor Centre will be a credit to the important maritime history of Harwich.

There are 3 kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Anyone reading this who is genuinely interested in what is going on at the Project, please don’t be party to the fabrications being published, contact us direct; come and see us or through our website, follow us on Facebook; Twitter and Instagram.

Yes, if you want absolutely no information on the ship build and instead want to know about Pokemon, honeybees, sharks and retweets that have nothing to do with the building of a ship, then I agree with Mr Day, pay their social media a visit. On the other hand if you want a well balanced and honest account of the progress, then continue to visit this blog.

The Project see this blog as a thorn in its side because it asks questions and demands answers, while informing the public (something the project refuses to do). Mr Day, I eagerly await your reply to this post and your explanation of how the Project will progress and the latest information on when the build will progress. But I wont hold my breath.

Mayflower project: Comments from the public.

I would like to thank the several hundred followers of this blog and the near 1000 visitors we had over the last week for your continued support and help with news and information regarding the lack of build and non information coming from the Project. Once again I am especially indebted to my American followers for your kind words, emails and information.

The latest rumours and gossip surrounding the non existent build are that with time running out, the Project may be considering several  other options in an effort to pull this dead duck from the water. Firstly, either a fixed berth version of the Mayflower,  which would be forever moored in Harwich and cost a lot less than a sea going version. The other option to be rumoured is not building the Mayflower in Harwich, but instead assembling it from parts made outside of the town. ‘Assembled in Harwich” doesn’t have quite the same ring as “Built” does it?

While I still await with baited breath for the alleged summer start of the build, I have again decided to post a few more comments from readers of the blog

As the Harwich Mayflower Project continues to ignore the public’s insistence on knowing  exactly what is happening to the build and what its plans are while it continues to solicit donations for a build that has not progressed in two years,  I’m taking this opportunity to post a few comments received by this blog that highlight the total disrespect the project has for its patrons as well as the people of Harwich.


An Ex Employee: (in response to another comment asking why people have not left the Project)

People have stepped away from the Project over the last 3 years. It just gets pushed under the carpet why they left.

EDITOR: this has been my experience as well. The official project line would seem to be “We didn’t want him/her/them here, they were useless, so we got rid of them” when in fact one would assume these people decided to leave.


Patricia Claus: (USA donator)

Thank you so much, Mr Kelly, for making sure the rest of the world hears about this “project”. If it weren’t for you I would not know anything currently about this organization which I donated money to a few years ago.

They have been so completely opaque, deliberately opaque, in all their dealings that I am sure many of us saw this coming in some form or another. Thanks again for letting us know what is really happening in Harwich.


Public seeking answers.

While I will not be making a post here until the summer has gone and the build has started as promised (again!) I think the following comment to the blog sums up the feelings of the majority of people concerning this “Charity” project…..

“Overall very disheartening, that a charity that operated by deceptive behaviour has been allowed to continue.

If the RSPCA stopped looking after animals and instead began building some fools errand of a visitors centre, there would be national outcry… But at least the RSPCA is creditable.

The HMP has lost all credibility, the one section of the project that was actively making a difference is shut.

The build has stopped for close to 2 years and management are saying it’ll only take 2 years to build… Well why isn’t it done yet?

What are they doing? And why hasn’t anyone publically left the project because of this?

One of the above comments draws a parallel to a football team. When results arnt met managers step down. When teams fail, players arnt sacked managers are. Why isn’t anyone being forced to resign? And most importantly who is policing this project and public money?

Who decided to spend thousands of pounds on yet another shed when the soul point of the project was to build a ship… This isn’t the Harwich Shed Project is it??

I so badly want to support this endeavour, to make this work. But the team in charge arnt doing anything worth while, there are no fundraising events, there are no sponsored efforts and nothing of any real note. And the only reason why the most productive side of the project is closing, is probably to coerce more money from a failing council, an easily fooled public and a sympathetic government. We are all being deceived by liars and cheats.

It was a great idea, and forever will be a great idea but only an idea. “