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Irish Sea: Port of Barrow Celebrates 150th Anniversary

20th July 2017

#ports&shipping - It was a special day for the English north-west port of Barrow-in-Furness as the Cumbria town last Sunday was filled with a colourful parade to mark the 150th anniversary of the port, writes Jehan Ashmore. 

The Port of Barrow estabished in 1867 is currently part of the Associated British Ports (ABP). The port on the Irish Sea is also where the origins of shipowners, James Fisher Everard began operations two decades earlier in 1847.

They operate a tanker fleet among them Galway Fisher (see photo of ship's stern during Seafest in Galway). This Barrow registered tanker frequently calls to the mid-west port from Whitegate Oil Refinery in Cork Harbour.

Another more recent Irish connection with Barrow was where the Royal Navy P2000 Archer class inshore fast patrol boat HMS Express attended celebrations. The craft had paid a visit this week to Dublin along with a sister HMS Dasher.

Afloat will have more to report on HMS Dasher when in the presence of the brand new Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. Part of this giant newbuild was constructed by BAE Systems also located in Barrow. 

According to ABP the celebrations for the port involved the lifting of the Michaelson Road Bridge by Gavin Andrews and Sonja Foster. The fundraising heroes were rewarded for their community work after winning a local community competition for the bridge opening.

Mr Andrews, Deputy Operations Manager at Dong Energy, has raised more than £40,000 for the North West Air Ambulance charity (NWAA) after the death of his son Joe, while Mrs Foster has raised funds for the Brathay Trust by running 10 marathons in 10 days for three years in a row.

He said: It’s a great honour to be opening the official celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the port. I’m Barrow born and bred and following a tragic accident with my son four years ago have been fundraising for the NWAA ever since. The NWAA do a fantastic job, that is vital and saves many lives, and we were shocked to learn that they rely on charitable donations.

“Since then, we have held events, done sponsored walks, anything really to raise money to support their valuable work. I’d like to stress that the funds we’ve raised are thanks to generous friends and family, people of Barrow and support from DONG Energy and other local companies, who have all helped us along the way.”

As part of the celebrations, the ABP press release added that a special plaque was also unveiled to cement the occasion in Barrow’s history. Councillor Tony Callister, Mayor of Barrow, unveiled the special plaque, and spoke of his pride at the honour.

Councillor Tony Callister, Mayor of Barrow, said: "I'm very proud of this day. It's probably going to be one of the best in my year as mayor because it's celebrating 150 years of an elite company that helping develop the Barrow coastline. The port is very, very important to attract bigger, better businesses to the area.”

The parade marched across the bridge through the town to the town quay, where spectators were able to enjoy live music, bouncy castles and docked vessels. Among them was the aforementioned HMS Express. 

Carl Bevan, ABP Divisional Port Manager, said: “I would like to thank everyone involved in making this parade a great success, and especially our customers, without whom we wouldn’t be able to play the vital role we do in supporting the local community.

“At Barrow, we are proud to have played a key role in the economic prosperity of the town for the past 150 years and are committed to supporting Barrow’s vibrant local community. Together with our sister Port of Silloth, ABP and its customers contribute around £100m to the region’s economy and support more than 5,000 jobs.”

Published in Ports & Shipping
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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