In recent years, the old East Yorkshire branch had fallen dormant, although a number of people were doing various activities themselves – notably Beryl Whipp, JST’s other Lord Nelson. More of this later! Early in 2011, and inspired by Nellie’s forthcoming visits to Whitby and Hull, Beryl and Helen Keep decided to try to get the local branch going again. There was no Yorkshire or Lincolnshire branch, so we decided to spread our boundaries to cover the two counties to increase our potential membership. With much help from Kelly in the office, we were able to find about a dozen people who were keen to help. We had our first branch meeting in York in June, and decided that we would initially concentrate on supporting the visits to Whitby and Hull. And that is primarily what we have done, but a number of members have also carried out other activities. Beryl has continued her very popular talks to local groups about JST and sailing history. And a number of others have done talks and emailed other local charities etc to see if they would put information about JST on their websites. Rosy Cartwright also carried out a sponsored night ride from York to Hull.
Nellie had a weekend of Open Ship in Whitby in August, timed to coincide with the Whitby Folk Festival. She was berthed in Endeavour Wharf, named in honour of Captain Cook’s ship, which was built in Whitby. It is right in the town centre so we were the centre of attention from morning till night! We were also blessed with amazing weather – beautiful sunshine for the whole weekend.
The weekend started off in fine style, with a seafood reception. This was organised as a fundraiser by one of the BM’s, Fred the Fish (Normandale). He has been a key player in the fishing industry in Scarborough for many years – and a quick recommendation for his four books about those times, they are great. The evening was a great success.
Saturday and Sunday were "Open Ship". This was Nellie’s first visit to Whitby and and we were very popular indeed!! There was a constant stream of people coming on board – many thanks to the branch members for all their efforts in publicising it beforehand! The visitors were all met on board the ship by Lord Nelson, aka Beryl Whipp! About a dozen branch members volunteered to help out over the weekend, and the very large crowds meant they certainly earned their keep! The visitors were really interested in JST, and we seemed to have inspired a good number of people to want to sail with us. We collected quite a lot of money (can’t remember how much) and the promtrad stall was also very busy. On Sunday, we were boarded by pirates! Thankfully they were a friendly group, who do charitable work in Whitby. The weekend was a fantastic success, and many thanks to all those who came and helped out.
The following weekend, Lord Nelson was in Hull. Again, our local volunteers turned out to support a number of events. On Friday afternoon, the branch organised an event to publicise JST’s Diversity@Sea scheme to local employers. They were certainly impressed by the scheme – and of course by Nellie. In the evening, the volunteers helped out with an event that the office had arranged, a reception for the local branch of the Nautical Institute. On Saturday morning, the branch had arranged for a group of visitors from local charities groups to come and look round the ship, and our volunteers told them all about JST.
It has been a really successful first 6 months for the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire branch. We now have about 30 members. Our next task is to plan activities for 2012, and to that end we have a branch meeting in York on December 3rd. If anyone is interested in joining the branch, please contact Helen Keep at email@example.com
With thanks to William Jackson Bakery, Wenaas, Associated British Ports and G4S who all very kindly provided goods or services free of charge. Also with thanks to voyage crew Roger Cobbett.