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St George’s News - Waterlooville’s Parish Magazine

The Website for St George’s Church, Waterlooville and its Parish Magazine St George’s News

Spring 2016 issue

St George’s Ladies Group

On the 12th November which was our very last meeting we had a very interesting talk by three ladies namely Liddy Davidson, Mary and Flick. The talk was titled “The Boat Project”.

The Boat Project is a living archive of people’s stories and lives. This project was created by Gregg Whelan and Gary Winters for the Cultural Olympiad. Gregg and Gary, members of the Performance Company Lone Twin, set out to build a seaworthy boat entirely from wooden objects donated by the public.  Between February and August they travelled South East England inviting people to bring them an object that held some special meaning. More than 1,200 people contributed, they handed over anything from a splinter of a guitar once strummed by Jimi Hendrix, a tennis racket, hockey sticks, a tiny train set with its railway carriages all linked, a piece of a cot which has been in a family for 3 generations, a ruler and the smallest donation was a cocktail stick. There are also objects from everyday life - an egg timer, coat hangers, spirit levels, a toilet seat from Thailand.

Gary and Gregg spent a year working with four boatbuilders, led by Olympic sailor Mark Covell and designer Simon Rogers to assemble the two tonne vessel and make it seaworthy. Using a framework of stripped cedar planks, they created a waterproof hull and cut each of the donations carefully until they fitted together like a jigsaw.  Then they  glued them on the hull, sanded them down so that every item was of the same depth,  and sealed them with laminating resin in a process called the West Epoxy System.

The more unusual items on board include a light cover from HMS Ark Royal, a piece of track from the newly built Olympic Velodrome and a walnut Rolls Royce dashboard.

One piece dates back more than 500 years after Patsy Clarke donated a small piece of the Mary Rose which her husband bought when it was raised in 1982.

The current Commander of HMS Victory donated a 7ft long plank of teak from the port forward section of the historic ship taken while it was in dry dock in 1922.

Eric Hinkley donated his home-made scout woggle and compass, which he wore in the opening ceremony of the 1948 Olympic Games aged 14.

The name of the boat is “Collective Spirit” which was the name chosen by the public and was the top ten name.

The base for the Boat Project during the build was at Thornham Marina in the Chichester Harbour area near Emsworth.

Each person was recorded when they brought in their piece of wood. Lady Pippa Blake whose husband Sir Peter Blake died and is buried in Warblington Churchyard donated a wooden figurine from the Easter Islands which she got when cruising there with her late husband.

Collective Spirit’s maiden voyage went to Brighton, Portsmouth, Hastings, Margate, Milton Keynes, Lymington and Bexhill-on-Sea.   She has also been to France,  London and the Isle of Wight. She is now staying in Bosham for the Winter.

During the 14 months of the build,  the boat builders collected the sawdust produced as they worked with donations.  The sawdust was used to make paper and they have produced limited edition bookmarks using this paper. These were in the Hall to be bought for £1.

All the items donated nearly covered the whole car park. The finished boat was launched on the 7th May 2012.

Priscilla Barlow