Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Devon School Names the Severn Link Ferry

When ferry operator Severn Link recently purchased its first two 'FlyingCat' fast ferries, there was just one thing that was missing - brand new names to reflect the vessels' new ownership and the area they would now be servicing. So, for a helping hand in finding just the right name, Severn Link turned to the bright and creative minds of youngsters from North Devon and South Wales.Entries came in from schools from all over both regions, with clever suggestions inspired by local heroes, historical events and even wildlife and fauna found in the area - but eventually it was Parracombe School in the heart of Exmoor, which was chosen as overall regional winner for South West England by nominating the Ilfracombe cove Rapparee as its chosen name. Geoff Metcalf, Managing Director of Severn Link, said of the winning entry, "We had so many exciting and imaginative names suggested by schools that it was very hard to choose an overall winner. However, the children of Parracombe School particularly excelled - patently putting much thought and research into their entry. It's a perfect name for a Severn Link ferry, for it helps promote one of the many beautiful points of the North Devon coastline, which will be one of the biggest draws for travellers coming from South Wales." Mrs Julie Ansell, Key Stage Two teacher at Parracombe School said, 'The children are absolutely thrilled that their name was chosen to be adopted by the Severn Link ferry. Being such a small school, it means that each child's needs are catered for and children are nurtured in a happy, family centred environment with a creative curriculum. That's why we were able to adapt our learning towards historical places and places of interest for the competition. The children went on walks, discovered local information, wrote stories and poems and created artwork to support the entry for the competition. The children drew tr easure maps, wrote poems and even combined the competition into their Maths lessons by using it to learn about points of the compass.' As part of their prize, the children of Parracombe School will be invited to a special Severn Link launch event to see the ferry for themselves and will also experience a ferry trip to visit the winning school on the South Wales side which has named the sister Severn Link fast ferry, to learn more about life in Wales and commence a local cultural and educational twinning exercise. Parracombe School, which is part of the West Exmoor Federation, is a small rural village school in Exmoor dating back to 1830, with just 29 schoolchildren in attendance. It's an integral part of the local community, serving the farming families of the area and participating in many local activities such as the May Day Revels. Geoff Metcalf said of the ferry naming competition, 'The objective of the competition was not only to get local children involved in the naming of the ferries that they'll see out on the waters of the Bristol Channel on a regular basis, but also to help them learn more about the connections between South West England and South Wales. Severn Link isn't just concerned with transporting travellers from coast to coast on a fun, fast and affordable ferry service, but is also about helping to bring two communities closer, socially, culturally and economically. We're looking forward to welcoming the children of Parracombe School on board to help them experience how exciting - and educational - ferry travel can be.' Severn Link is due to commence operations across the Bristol Channel this spring, connecting key areas of South West England and South Wales via a regular fast ferry service. For more information on the countdown to the launch of the ferry service, visit www.severnlink.com or follow Severn Link on Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Second ferry for Severn Link - FastCat Ryde’ to join sister ship

Ferry operator Severn Link has completed the two vessel deal with ferry operator Wightlink, taking ownership of the ‘FastCat Ryde’ which will service routes across the Bristol Channel as from this year. The 34 knot Kvaerner ‘FlyingCat’ passenger catamaran, which carries up to 360 passengers, has now undergone exterior renovations and repaint and will shortly join its sister ship, the former ‘FastCat Shanklin’, in Swansea, paving the way for the first modern regular ferry service to link the shores of North Devon and South Wales due to commence this spring. The first ferry, which is currently completing an extensive interior refit in the docks at Swansea’s SA1, has been the focus of much public interest, with crowds of people turning out earlier this year to watch it make a brief appearance at Ilfracombe on its way from Portsmouth to its new home in Swansea. The completion of the purchase of the second vessel signals a landmark moment for Severn Link, which is now finalising a series of routes to roll out through 2010. Geoff Metcalf, Managing Director of Severn Link, said, “We are very happy to shortly be able to introduce the second ‘FlyingCat’ to her new home in South Wales. This is the next major step in being able to commence regular Bristol Channel crossings with a fun, fast and affordable ferry service which will make travelling from the South West of England to South Wales much easier than ever before.”
Severn Link is currently on the countdown to announce a launch date for the first route to cross from Ilfracombe to South Wales. Schedules, pricing and booking information will shortly be available on www.severnlink.com and through its online Facebook and Twitter channels.