Sunday 11 April 2010

Letter: "The City of Adelaide is in the hearts and souls of Sunderland..."

What an excellent artice by the Echo's feature writer Linda Colling in the Good Friday edition of the Echo entitled "Why isn't it 'ship ahoy' for our sinking city?" about the City of Adelaide ship which is in real danger if being broken up in Irvine Scotland if a successful rescue is not achieved.

Tom Lynn recenly had a very good letter on these very pages championing the cause for Linda standing as a candidate for becoming a mayor of the City of Sunderland having read the piece on the Adelaide I can see where Tom is coming from and I know who I would vote for.

Linda mentions the crowds flocking into the Hartlepool Marina over Easter where they have done a tremedous job showing vision and the will to achieve things. Indeed Hartlepool have even offered a birth for the historic Wearside icon which was built by the geninus Sunderland shipbuilder William Pile whose relatives are getting behind this vital campaign. Even Tyneside has expressed an interest in OUR ship !

The Aussies are backing their campaign so its high time Wearside showed its teeth as it was built in our own back yard and not in Australia.

As Linda points out Sunderland was the biggest shipbuilding town on the planet but what evidence is there of this in our city in 2010, very little and this is an absoulte disgrace.

We have the National Glass Centre and the historic St.Peters Church currently on the banks of the River Wear and what a trio it would be if the City of Adelaide ship was added to the this impressive pair.

What a fantastic opportunity it would be for the youth of our city to restore this part of Wearside history and surely lead to them feeling a great sense of pride similar to which their forefathers felt while working in the shipyards of Sunderland.

As Peter Maddison founder and chairman of SCARF says in the piece:

"The City of Adelaide is in the hearts and souls of Sunderland and there is a need here, not just a curiosity or desire"

Maybe as our local politicans seem unable to grasp the importance of this massive opportunity its time for the citizens of Sunderland and the people of Co. Durham to back this campaign. Wearside is rightly proud of its tradition of giving generously to worthwhile causes, well now is our chance to help bring back some genuine history to Sunderland.

£400,000 is needed to bring the Adelaide home and half of this has been raised in pledges, so come on people of Wearside we can pledge the remaining £200,000 and help get our beauty home to her rightful place on the Wear.

Yours sincerely

Tony Ratton

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Press feature article: Why isn't it 'ship ahoy' for sinking Sunderland?

The contrast couldn't be greater this Easter – crowds flocking to Hartlepool marina and aboard the Trincomalee while, unbelievably, our fantastic opportunity to bring back The City of Adelaide is ignored and soon perhaps scuppered by our visionless council.

What a sop to tell the campaigners, striving to bring home one of the world's oldest clippers, that they would provide a place for her in the South Docks. How magnanimous.

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Sunday 4 April 2010

"I saw a brave and determined team taking on, perhaps a more talented team. Boldness won out...."

Great result at the Stadium yesterday. I managed to get a last minute ticket for the game and for 90 odd minutes had my mind off the clipper. Even Ahab must have occasionally had whale free moments. I'm back in the office now though.

Ayrshire Metals and the Scottish Maritime Museum fell out years ago. For years they have only communicated with each other through their lawyers. Because Ayrshire Metals own the site where the Adelaide is positioned we have not been able to gain legal access to the ship. This of course makes it very difficult for us to be able to submit a detailed engineering recovery report to Historic Scotland. It would be a great, great breakthrough for SCARF if we were able to hold direct talks with Ayrshire metals. We would be able to come to a mutually advantageous business arrangement. We could, for example pay them a year’s slipway rent of £50,000. If we had a year’s grace, with technical experts and an army of useful volunteers, we would certainly be able to overcome all the engineering challenges as well as the political and financial.

Do you know any scrap iron men who could have business dealings with Ayrshire metals ? Do you know any smart legal people who would enjoy pulling off what no one else has ever managed; to set up a face to face meeting with SCARF and Ayrshire Metals. At the moment, in a way, we are hostage to whatever negotiations are going on between Ayrshire Metal lawyers and Scottish Maritime Museum lawyers. Historic Scotland and National Historic Ships are also included in those closed door talks.

Fortune favours the brave. That’s what I saw yesterday at the Stadium of Light. I saw a brave and determined team taking on, perhaps a more talented team. Boldness won out. I don’t like waiting for information and instruction to trickle down to us. That ship belongs to Sunderland. It is our property. We need that ship to kick start regeneration on our riverside. That ship will ensure our town becomes a city. It is never a good strategy to wait for things to happen; to boot the ball up the field and hope for the best. We need to steer our own ship. We need a scrap man with clout and connections and a lawyer driven by an aim rather than money. Do you know those people?

Kindest Regards