11th February 2021
2020 brings to an end the 6th year since the establishment of The Friends, a year that began with the promise of an unrivalled year
During January and February, a series of talks and visits took place as normal and the calendar filled with requests for talks and arrangement for school visits linked to the Port of Blyth STEM project.
During these 2 months 113 people visited or benefitted from a talk about the vessel. 2020 was set to exceed previous years in potential visitor numbers.
HLF Bid / Stern Repair
Our complex joint bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund with RNYC, long in its evolution slowly entered its final iteration. The partnership consuming tens of hours of work seeking matched funding for the Stern repair piggybacked onto an ambitious bid to document and then involve large numbers of school children so as to understand and appreciate the purpose of LV 50 and her role in safety at sea over her service life of 70 years.
During January and February, we had made contact with the Curator of Trincomalee and scheduled a visit. We had at last engaged with the Deputy Master of Trinity house London and the Master of Trinity House Newcastle both of whom were keen to attend the unveiling of our recently awarded Blyth Town Council Blue Plaque.
Sadly 2020 proved to be an extraordinary year unique in all of our experience, when our “normal” life was overwhelmed by a global pandemic.
Our visiting programme, musical evenings, open days, Blue plaque ceremony were all suspended. HLF closed to all bids and our understanding is that their funds would be directed to organizations and endeavours focused strictly on public benefit.
What have we achieved despite Covid?
The three Blue Plaques have been fixed, to the main South Harbour fence adjoining the public information board overlooking the Yacht club and H Y Tyne III, to our outer fence at the entrance to the RNYC and to the starboard side hull on the entrance to the covered walkway.
A working replica foghorn particularly for school visits has been installed under the replica lantern.
Two additional information boards telling the carronade and foghorn story have been fixed to the entrance fence area.
Our website continues to expand now containing personal details of serving crew members offering a glimpse into the lives of the brave light ship men who served on LV 50.
We have commissioned a “exploded 3D” illustration of LV 50 as she would have been on seven Stones Reef from the renown naval artist Roger Hutchins (similar illustrations to those for Trincomalee, Victory etc).
We are in the process of developing a “virtual tour” of the vessel following our usual tour of the vessel. This experience will be available on our website and will allow school children, adults, disabled individuals and those from afar to virtually experience a visit to our vessel and to help them understand her unique heritage. Local lead teachers are involved in this project so that the LV 50 experience can continue to excite and inform local children.
We have attracted funding for this endeavour from the Joicey Trust as well as through the Community Foundation of Tyne, Wear and Northumberland from the EDF Energy Blyth Offshore Demonstrator Wind Farm Community Benefit amounting to a total of £4025
Thanks are due to the members of The Friends for their invaluable support and to several non-members who have also given freely many hours of their time and energy.
Thanks also to the General Committee of the RNYC for their encouragement and financial support of our projects
The Friends are a small hard-working group. We are actively seeking to increase the number of Friends and volunteers as we anticipate many new projects in the future with many opportunities to get involved.