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FoF Chair's Letter - April 2015

Dear Member,

Despite some cancellations for fog, our short-lived Easter Week “summer” did bring crowds to Snowdrop, now resplendent in its dazzle colours!  Traditionalists may wince, and I think Mersey Ferries were a little concerned initially, but the national publicity (including live broadcasts on BBC Breakfast) outweighs any disadvantages.  Other publicists must be green with envy about the level of   media coverage.  And the Liverpool Biennial will pay for two repaints!  The ferry has an interesting exhibition aboard about WWI dazzle techniques, including a photo of the Mona’s Queen as a troopship. At the official “opening” ceremony, the  Chief Executive of Merseytravel made the point that Mersey Ferries is the most popular paid-for tourist attraction on Merseyside.

On 4th March, Friends met Mersey Ferries’ Gary Evans, and Merseytravel’s Chair Cllr. Liam Robinson, to discuss current matters.

A more detailed report of the meeting appears in our Newsletter, edited by Geoff Holmes.  Significantly, a consultant’s report is expected this summer looking at a 25 year strategy for Mersey Ferries.  It will take account of the age of the vessels, notwithstanding their refurbishments, and also repairs which may be required on the Woodside stage (when dry-docked), and the Seacombe stage bridges. Hopefully, it will look at new markets beyond the daily “Explorer” cruises, and the Manchester Ship Canal trips.  The Liverpool Conference market remains largely untapped, and we are disappointed to learn that Mersey Ferries continues to keep the the Royal Daffodil in dock because it claims two vessels can cope with anticipated traffic.  We need some further initiatives, and hope these will follow from the administrative reorganization of Mersey Ferries in recent times.

On the river, we look forward to the Cunard Festival around the Spring Bank Holiday. At Radio Merseyside, we learn from Stuart Wood’s Riverwatch spot (Saturday mornings just before 8am) that Fred Olsen’s Black Watch will visit Liverpool 15 times this year! The same company is running a cruise this May from Liverpool to Eastern Canada and Montreal, with a return cruise back to Liverpool.  So Transatlantic liner travel from the Mersey is again possible!

Our Annual Dock and River Cruise takes place on Saturday 20th June, starting at 12.00 noon from Seacombe, then

picking-up at Pier Head and Woodside. Andy Ball and Stuart Wood will give the commentary.  Please make every effort to advertise it to your friends, neighbours and local activity groups. We can send an email poster to people or organizations if you advise us. Tickets bookable below, or from the three ferry terminals. Meanwhile, I hope to see you at our AGM on 18th May at Birkenhead YMCA, when Hugh Daglish, retired Commander of the Royal Yacht Britannia will speak to us.                         

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Hodgson

Hon. Chairman