Scarborough sailor chosen for 1,000 boat flotilla

Jubilee boat'Alan Johnson of Scarborough on his sailing coble Gratitude which will be taking part in the Queens Golden Jubilee flotilla on the River Thames later this year.'Picture by Neil Silk  120471a'28/01/12
Jubilee boat'Alan Johnson of Scarborough on his sailing coble Gratitude which will be taking part in the Queens Golden Jubilee flotilla on the River Thames later this year.'Picture by Neil Silk 120471a'28/01/12

A SCARBOROUGH man will be taking his fishing coble along Thames as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Alan Richmond, of Castlegate, will join the largest flotilla in modern times, sailing his coble “Gratitude” alongside rowing boats, working boats and pleasure vessels of all shapes and sizes.

Jubilee boat'Alan Johnson of Scarborough on his sailing coble Gratitude which will be taking part in the Queens Golden Jubilee flotilla on the River Thames later this year.'Picture by Neil Silk  120471a'28/01/12

Jubilee boat'Alan Johnson of Scarborough on his sailing coble Gratitude which will be taking part in the Queens Golden Jubilee flotilla on the River Thames later this year.'Picture by Neil Silk 120471a'28/01/12

The event will take place on Sunday June 3 and Alan is looking forward to it already.

He said: “I was very surprised and absolutely delighted to be selected.

“Apparently a deputy of the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire was looking for a typical boat that represented the region and he heard about Gratitude.

“There will be a lot of work involved now in getting the boat ready for the Queen to admire her.”

Mr Richmond purchased the Gratitude in 1995, and completely refurbished the vessel.

The re-fit included the provision of more authentic fittings and rigging, which were based on re-discovered photographic evidence, and new sails made by the famous James Lawrence Sail Loft in Brightlingsea.

The boat has appeared at various sea shanty festivals in places such as Hull.

It also helped raise money for King George’s Fund for Sailors at Nostell Priory.

During the Queen’s flotilla, each vessel will be beautifully dressed with streamers and Union Jacks.

The flotilla will stretch for an estimated twelve and a half miles.

Pageant organisers, and representatives from the river community, were involved in the selection process. Safety, fitness for purpose, the range of the vessel type, as well as the boats’ historical significance, and whether it had an interesting story to tell were considered during selection.

Her Majesty the Queen, and other members of the Royal Family aboard the Royal Barge “The Spirit of Chartwell” will take part in the procession.