Day 2 of Maritime Films UK’s UK-wide tour – up to Staffordshire to interview James Whale, who’s just back from the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s tall ship Lord Nelson. James has cerebral palsy which affects his movements and speech. But definitely not his brain or his thinking! (or his driving – he picks me up from Stafford station, half an hour away from his home.) Meet up there with his mum Elena and lively young spaniel Molly, who’s up for everything, including tug-of-war with a branch longer than she is. Interview James about his voyage out in the garden and he comes up with good insights into what being at sea for 3 months was like, his part in the epic 2-year voyage of the Nelson. Before that, Elena gives us a much-needed and lavish sandwich lunch. I was gasping, so thanks Elena!
Filming for our Jubilee Sailing Trust film all this week. First of all to Treloar’s College in Alton Hampshire (close by Alan Titchmarsh’s latest, immaculate garden!) to film with Jerry Cullum, head of the business centre at the college, who helped pupil Ryan to go to sea with the Trust. Treloar’s is a purpose-built college especially for disabled students. Very smart and new. That’s because the college made a smart move a while back, selling a former property at a good price and building the new college from the ground up. It’s spacious, light and airy. Jerry talks about how the voyage made big changes in Ryan, who lives with cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Didn’t stop him sailing the world aboard Lord Nelson though! Thank you Lorna Woodcroft of Treloar’s, who set all this up with extraordinary speed and efficiency.
Someone once mournfully said that owning a boat was like standing in a cold shower tearing up banknotes. Maybe so a few years ago, but as the Wembley Sailing Club shows, nowadays it ain’t necessarily so. Here a few quid gets you on the water in one of the club boats. In fact at the Welsh Harp reservoir in North London, sailing costs less than joining your local netball club. So at Bart’s Bash us lot at Maritime Films UK got to see a lot of young people under sail – and the day was a good one, sunny with a brisk breeze. Easy to imagine that among the sailors might be some new Olympians. Just make sure you’ve got big fluffy towels and access to some strong hot tea when you come in. And learn how to de-capsize (see picture!)
It’s a Sunday. You’re a Mayor, and you’re a local councillor, with a host of local duties, as well as your work and your family to think about. And here’s a chance for a bit of time off. And, frankly, sailing isn’t really your thing. But you can spot a good cause when you see one, so you lose a fat chunk of your day off to open the latest facility, a new pontoon, at the Welsh Harp reservoir in the North London Borough of Brent. So full marks (and a bit more) to the Mayor of Brent, Councillor Kana Naheerathan and Councillor Sury Khatri from neighbouring Barnet. Here’s the thing though – bizarrely, part of the lake is in Brent and part in Barnet. So… how do you draw a council boundary in a lake? These are deep waters, Watson…
It’s a national event, Bart’s Bash, but Maritime Films UK went to one bit of it – with Wembley Sailing Club at the Welsh Harp reservoir in North London. The Bash is in memory of the much loved yachtsman Andrew Simpson (nicknamed Bart because of his spiky hair) who sadly lost his life during training for the America’s Cup in 2012. Now the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation has been set up in his memory – to encourage more young people to get on the water – and UK-wide sailing events were held to raise funds to support it. We came along to film for our Maritime Media Awards movie ‘Boat Nation’ – looking at how and why the boating and yachting people of the UK have become Britain’s No 1 maritime ambassadors. And we weren’t disappointed. And didn’t even get our feet wet…
On a sun-misty day, the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s Sail Training Ship Lord Nelson came up the Thames at the end of an epic round the world, 2-year voyage. All the more epic because like her Jubilee Trust sister Tenacious, she was built specifically with inclusiveness in the very heart of her: to enable even those with severe disabilities to enjoy the fantastic experience of sailing in a tall ship. Yes and that does mean going up the mast for everyone, including wheelchair users. It seemed just right that Tower Bridge was raised to its highest point – normally only done for Royalty – to see her come alongside HMS Belfast with her sister staying just the other side of the bridge. Filming this, and seeing the joy of her volunteer and full-time crew at voyage end, was a complete privilege.
Rob is a TV producer, reporter and camera operator with 30 years’ experience at the BBC, Channel 4 and ITN, in news, factual and documentary production. He is a four times award winner, whose awards include a coveted Royal Television Society award for his work on Channel 4 News. His association with The Maritime Foundation goes back to 1995, when he won the first Desmond Wettern Maritime Media Award for a series of reports that led to a major documentary on the loss of the bulk carrier Derbyshire.