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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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Tall ships draw crowds to Whitehaven

Anyone visiting Whitehaven this weekend may have been surprised to see what looked like the town’s Maritime Festival in full swing.

Tall ships photo
Visitors were keen to board the ships

The popular event was cancelled this year, much to the disappointment of many locals and visitors alike.

Although a full blown festival wasn’t possible, organisers have planned a series of smaller events to help fill the gap during the year.

This weekend saw two tall ships sail into the harbour, giving the town a glimpse back to its iconic heritage.

The harbourside area also hosted a continental market, live music, street theatre and a host of other stalls.

And with the sun shining down, visitors flocked from far and wide to get involved.

Gerard Richardson, chief executive of Whitehaven Festival Company, was delighted by the support.

“It’s been heaving. There’s a whole section of the harbour where it’s been like the Maritime Festival,” he said.

“We’ve had loads of visitors. I’ve spoken to a lot of people who are staying in the Lakes but came through for the market or the tall ships. I wouldn’t like to guess at numbers but there have been a lot of people and I’m just chuffed to bits.”

The two tall ships – Lady of Avenel and the Maybe – were open for the public to board for part of the weekend and proved popular with both enthusiasts and families.

Also in town was Chay Blyth’s Ocean Racing Yacht, which was a big hit too.

The event, sponsored by Nuclear Management Partners, also involved Workington – with a third tall ship, The Pelican, docking at its port because it was too big for Whitehaven’s harbour.

The Tall Ships Weekend was one of a series of events replacing this year’s festival. Next is Whitehaven Live!, featuring Bob Geldof and The Boomtown Rats and The Stranglers, at Copeland Stadium on July 5.

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