SHIP SHIP HOORAY!
Fantastic to see so many boats on the Wear again – race organiser
Visitors have been wowed by the Tall Ships in Sunderland – and Wearsiders have been full of pride to see the river full of ships once more.
Event chiefs are keeping visitor figures under wraps until after the event, but the crowds on the first official day of the Tall Ships spoke for themselves – with organisers pleased to report very positive feedback.
Michelle Daurat, project director for the Tall Ships in Sunderland, said the first official day of the Wearside leg – Wednesday – was “a lot busier than the preview day on Tuesday,which is what we expected.
“We’ve had brilliant feedback from visitors, and people have been saying its fantastic to see the River Wear full of ships once again.”
Michelle said yesterday’s crew parade was “always a highlight of any Tall Ships Race – it’s an opportunity for all of the crews from all of the ships to show off, and all the crews will be carrying banners with their ships’ names.”
But Michelle added that there will be unique elements for the Sunderland parade.
All the 152 Sunderland sail trainees who will sail to Esbjerg from Saturday had also been invited to be a part of the parade, carrying their own banner and wearing orange T-shirts.
One of them was 65-yearold Hazel McGregor – a retired headteacher who spent her career at Cotsford Infants School in Horden.
She said: “It is great that we will take part in the parade in our city and it is nice to see so many other people taking part.”
Hazel, from Washington, will be sailing out of Sunderland this Saturday on the Santa Maria Manuela.
But before then, she joined more than 1,000 peope on the crew parade which was led off by 50 Hells Angels, who have their base in the East End at the heart of the Tall Ships events.
The Hells Angels do have a nautical link – their HQ was used as a recuperation hospital after the Battle of Trafalgar.
Close Act, a walkabout group of electro-drummers on stilts from the Netherlands, followed the bikers on the parade, which started from Sunderland Civic Centre, went along Burdon Road, across Wearmouth Bridge, down to Bonnersfield, finishing at the stage area at St Peter’s Campus.
The parade ended with the Crew prizegiving Ceremony at St Peter’s, led by Sail Training International, which organises the Races , and attended by The Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Lynda Scanlan.