Friday, 24 June 2016

To Bootle seafarers past, present and future Hugh Baird brings hope with new Port Academy

Yesterday was National Seafarers day and therefore appropriate that the new Port Academy should get its official opening. It is part of the Hugh Baird College with which I am increasingly impressed.
The maritime sector is part of the DNA of Bootle and with the creation of the new Port Academy the hope is that people can received high quality training that will fit them for the jobs that will be created by the expansion of the Port. The opportunities with be available from the age of 14 to adulthood.

One of the key events in Bootle's maritime history-and indeed in the nations history - is the Battle of the Atlantic. One of the heroes of that Battle was Bootle man Capt Johnny Walker. In many ways Bootle Tow Hall is a museum dedicated to his exploits . It was therefore appropriate that his grandson should be at the opening ceremony. Amongst many other dignitaries invited was the Earl of Derby who is pictured below in naval uniform with Johnny Walker's grandson. 
Royal Naval engineers and members of the logistics corp had delivered an anchor to grace the outside of the new Port Academy building and I understand that they have also brought with them a torpedo which will doubtless be install elsewhere in the building. The anchor was blessed and sprinkled with holy water by the Rev Dr Crispin Pailing, Rector of Liverpool Parish Church which is often referred to as the Seafarers church.

Sea cadets drumming at the Port Academy opening
The College has done well to establish a wide range of courses from entry level upwards thanks to partnerships with training organisations and JMU. You don't have to swallow all the optimistic hype about the Northern Powerhouse to recognise that this is an important project and one that has practical applications especially in preparing local people for job opportunities in the expanding port operation. Liverpool now has a deep sea port that can take 90+%of the worlds shipping that is a dramatic improvement.

It was also good to meet people from the mental health charity Imagine Independence who were checking out training and job opportunities for people recovering from mental ill health.

 I did take photo of the Sefton Sea Cadets from Litherland and Southport but regrettably it has not turned out.
The blessing of the anchor

The Earl of Derby and Captain Johnny Walker's grandson

bust of Captain Johnny Walker

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