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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 103

Date:- 14 June 2003

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MERSEY Light-vessel Preservation Society is one of four charities to benefit from A NAUTICAL FANTASY, which was presented at the Neptune Theatre 10th – 13th June.

The event had a song and dance extravaganza that feature a fabulous selection of songs with a nautical theme covering famous songs like Moon River, Rule Britannia, Wish Upon a Star, Bare Necessities, Sailing, Sail the Ocean Blue and many more. Joan the Sylvia Stubbs Dancers (from Bootle) and local Merseyside singers, including Lesley Smith, Marie Williams and Pamela Ashcroft from Merseyside Opera, St Paul’s Operatic Society, Pat and Bob Barrow from Crosby, Carol Clare and Louise Hogan, came. The night also include sea shanties, light opera, and songs from musicals, all with a nautical connotation, as well as the tinies singing Disney classics. All the proceeds went to local charities. 

The Mersey Light-vessel Preservation Society is a small charity and was one of the benifactors of the event.  It was formed three years ago to save the last manned lightship of the British Isles and the last manned Bar lightship, which served the Mersey. The ship called the Planet is up for sale and may leave Merseyside forever. 

The charity, with just under 200 members, is trying to raise £180,000 to buy and preserve this historic ship to set her up as a Museum in memory of the Merchant Navy and as a meeting place for retired mariners.

She was the first and last thing sailors, many from Merseyside, saw when leaving and coming home from their long voyages.
Organised by Lormac Productions, the show will also benefit the Radio Merseyside Charitable Trust, the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and the Friends of St. Georges Hall. MLPS’s dedicated night for the show is on Tuesday, 10th June. But it doesn’t matter which night people go, as the proceeds will be split four ways. Tickets which cost £6 are available from the Neptune Theatre on 0151 709 7844.

Win a £10,000 Painting!

THIS is your chance to win a print of a super £10,000 painting by renowned local marine artist Edward Walker of the Bar Lightship Planet. Planet is up for sale and a group of dedicated mariners is trying to save her for posterity. The Mersey Light vessel Preservation Society is raising funds to buy and preserve this little red ship to set her up as a museum to the life of the British Merchant Navy, which is now a shadow of its former self. To help raise funds Mr Walker has painted a beautiful painting depicting the bar lightship on station at the Mersey Bar, along with the Cunard company’s Sylvania, the Isle of Man boat Ben My Chree and a Glen Ogle ship.

Planet was the last of a long line of manned bar lightships, which marked the entrance to the Mersey channel. Ships of all sizes and nationalities passed the bar to and from Liverpool and Birkenhead and she was the first thing they saw when entering the Mersey and the last when leaving for foreign shores. She was built in 1960 and stood at the Bar from 1961 to 1972. She then saw service in the English Channel, off Guernsey until 1989. She was the last ever manned light-vessel to serve the British coastline. Automatic buoys now do the same work.

Her job was to send out a light from her powerful beacon, to sound the foghorn in times of fog and to offer a calibration service for ships to set their compasses by.

The MLPS has been given the reproduction rights of the painting by Mr Walker to sell to raise funds. 

A4 framed prints can be purchased for £15, mounted £7.50, unmounted £5. 

To purchase a print readers can contact Society Chairman Mr Stan McNally on 0151 648 2266, or you can win a framed print free by entering our competition!

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Southport Reporter is a registered Trade Mark.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2003.