On Sunday 3rd June, over 1,000 boats mustered on the Thames for the Diamond Jubilee smashing the world record for the biggest parade of boats in history. The Pageant was also the largest collection of historic vessels ever assembled on the Thames. Millions of people braved the weather, lining the banks of the river Thames, to watch the seven mile flotilla, in honour of Queen Elizabeth II reaching her 60th year on the throne - a feat only equalled by Queen Victoria in the last century.
The Trust is extremely proud of our little ship and is delighted that Endeavour was part of this historic, once in a lifetime event. It seems such a long time ago that the committee discussed Endeavour's participation in the Pageant. Should we be part of the flotilla joining fellow Dunkirk Little Ships within the historic vessels section or should we enter in the 'Avenue of Sail', moored below London Bridge?
In August, after much debate, we agreed that Endeavour would lose much of her authenticity and uniqueness with the mast down and we should apply to participate in the 'Avenue of Sail' section along with other vessels with too high an air draft to pass under the bridges. This section included tall ships, sailing barges, cockle boats, oyster smacks, herring drifters and fishing trawlers.
We thought and assumed that an 'Avenue of Sail' would provide a splendid part of the Pageant route for Her Majesty's barge to pass through. In the June edition of Classic Boat we read "The Pageant will weave through the heart of London to Tower Bridge, then through an Avenue of Sail, made up of hundreds of traditional Thames sailing boats, oyster smacks, square riggers, naval vessels and other impressive ships".
We were not informed that our mooring position was downriver of HMS President until a very late stage. This transpired to be beyond the pier used for the Queen's disembarkation from the Royal Barge. Also and very unfortunately the on board view from Endeavour was restricted by HMS President, moored, as she was, between us and the disembarkation pier.
This was extremely disappointing for our members and guests including our Mayor Sally Carr, who had been on board for several hours braving appalling weather.
We have written to Lord Salisbury, Chairman of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, acknowledging the success of this remarkable tribute event but at the same time expressing disappointment in the role given to the 'Avenue of Sail' participants, some having travelled from Wales, the South West and Continental Europe.
|Trust members and sponsors sailed Endeavour from Holehaven Creek, Canvey to London to take her place in the Avenue of Sail. The picture left, shows Paul Gilson and Jeremy Squier casting off, ably assisted by Esther Brown.|
|The picture above, shows all on board and just some of the crowds on the river bank and balconies.|
Well done to everyone involved!
Our thanks also to Dauntless Chandlers who continue to supply paint and other items and to Leigh Marina for the use of their facilities during the weeks of maintenance work.
|Row boats passing through the Avenue of Sail with Endeavour in the left foreground|