Across on the ferry to Gravesend today for the Cambria Trust AGM,
Highlight of the event was the presentation to the Cambria Volunteer of the Year. The Cambria Cup was presented by Tony Farnham, Cambria’s Honorary Ambassador, to Deben Johnson.
Deben is 17 and has volunteered with sb Cambria for two and a half years. He has sailed as Third Hand on the barge, and has also put his skills to good use on board. As a woodwork apprentice he has carried out considerable work on the barge boat as well as on the barge itself, including work on all the wooden blocks.
The Cambria Cup was won by Cambria in 1930 and subsequently passed into Tony’s ownership. He donated it to the Cambria Trust to be used in this way.
Sorry for the poor quality of the photo – I was not in a good position to take it, either that or the lens was very dirty!
Off on the Ferry to Gravesend today for the Cambria Trust Annual General Meeting, held at the Port of London Authority headquarters at London River House. The Cambria Trust, of course, owns and maintains the sailing barge Cambria, renowned as the last UK registered vessel to trade under sail alone. A wooden Thames sailing barge, she still has no engine and is completely dependent on the wind.
The AGM was well attended, and it was good to see a number of people who had not met since last year’s meeting. Chairman, Bruce Richardson, reported on a busy year with charters by Rotary International District 1120 and the Sea-Change Sailing Trust, both using the barge for sail training. Cambria had taken part in several of the annual barge matches, doing well, and had been at the Classic Boat Festival in St Katharine’s Dock in September, where on several days she had welcomed 1,000 visitors.
A highlight of the day was the presentation to the Trust of a splendid framed picture of Cambria taking part in the Thames Match of 1936. The picture was a gift to the Trust from Tony and Sandy Farnham, and in handing it over Tony said that he hoped the picture would be installed on board the barge. Our picture shows Tony Farnham, right, presenting the picture to Bruce Richardson.
Picture courtesy of Dave Brooks
Tony Ellis was the inspiration behind the project to restore Cambria. It was he who eventually persuaded The Maritime Trust to sell the rapidly deteriorating vessel to The Cambria Trust for one pound. It took twenty years to complete the project and for Cambria to rejoin the fleet of Thames sailing barges.
Sadly Tony Ellis died in 2008, three years before Cambria sailed again. The Ellis family donated a sum to enable a large old compass to be bought and installed on the barge as a memorial to Tony and it was blessed at a short memorial service during the re-dedication of Cambria in May 2012.