AUTUMN NEWSLETTER

There is just so much going on with the Blakeney Harbour Association! Believe it or not, we can’t tell you everything in one newsletter! If we tried most people would fall asleep halfway through anyway!

Therefore we’re going to have three issues between now and the New Year. I hope you don’t think that’s overkill. We want to keep the communication with all our members interesting and so a bit less information but more often seemed best.

What’s not in this newsletter? There has been some fantastic work done on the history of the Hjordis; lots more volunteering is achieving all sorts of exciting things; more social events – and, yes, that includes fundraisers! are planned; committees are being reorganised; we are talking to the Charity Commissioners about more trustees and on and on it goes. But all that’s for another day.

So if your particular contribution, your volunteering, your donation, your ideas are not recognised in this edition, bear with us and you can be sure that over the next two or three months we will do our level best to acknowledge everybody that is working so hard for BHA.

Where to start today? Here is an unsolicited email;

“We are all very fortunate to have such a dedicated team looking out for the Harbour. All with day jobs and doing all this as well and for free. It was a very inspiring meeting last night (the summer meeting). Please thank our inimitable Chairman. I am not surprised you need help. It is almost getting to the stage when we will need a paid secretary”;

And within a couple of months we had secured a donation to cover the cost of an administrator’s wages for 10 hours a week for the next two years!! We thought about that very hard. BHA, and BHBA before it, had always operated through a team of volunteers. Would employing someone disturb that formula which people are so keen to support? But the reality was the paperwork was piling up! Being a charity and having a lot more members was taking some looking after! So we accepted the donation from the Norfolk Charitable Trust and we very much hope members will understand why. And your membership fee still gets spent on the same things it always has.

But back to those so important volunteers. The Blakeney Harbour Association, a non-profit making charity set up to maintain the harbour has 435 members representing local residents and user groups. With the exception of the administrator, all of the work is undertaken by unpaid volunteers – more than 40 hard-working committed people – giving up their time to be:

  • Trustees, committee members, maintenance crews
  • Insurance, accounting, legal and charity advisors
  • Harbour wardens
  • Film, mapping, technology and communication teams
  • Security groups

The allure of Blakeney Harbour, handsome, sometimes perilous, always magnificent brings so many people to live here and holds on to so many whose families have been here for generations.

For that same love of the harbour hundreds of thousands of people visit every year. And all this brings economy and jobs of course. Should we consider it a privilege to be able to be involved in Blakeney Harbour?

If membership of the Blakeney Harbour Association gives us a voice in shaping the future and controlling the present for this beautiful place then the answer will surely be yes.

Here’s a very quick summary of what’s gone on in 2016 – more detail on some of these in the next issues of the newsletter – and there will be more details too of our plans for 2017

  • Achieved over 400 members
  • Removal of the Fairway buoy
  • Arranged installation of the new Hjordis East buoy
  • Maintenance of all buoys and lights
  • Maintenance of all channel buoys in Blakeney and Cley
  • Installing light at Morston Creek
  • Updating old lights
  • Maintain store of spare lights
  • 7 more port and starboard lights for harbour channel buoys
  • New beacon and speed limit sign on South Sands
  • New marker buoy at Pinchens Creek
  • Retro-taping withies along Pinchens Creek
  • Maintenance of slipways at Morston Quay
  • Removal of various wrecked boats
  • New No. 2 starboard buoy with light
  • Communicating navigation warnings as the Hjordis wreck ended up in the middle of the channel!
  • Maintaining communication with members through social media on the website and newsletters
  • Promoting BHA’s image in the media
  • Weekly updates on the notice boards
  • Liaison with pilot books, chart makers and Trinity house
  • Build up to very close to 500 friends on Facebook
  • Maintain good wardening
  • Landowner liaison

But – unashamedly – this newsletter is about fundraising and very specifically raising the money for new buoyage. History, security, the environment, safety, insurance and lots more gets covered in the next two issues.

As you will know we buoyed the Cley and Blakeney channels two years ago which has proved to be very popular. But the temporary buoyage we used needs constant, expensive maintenance. So we are setting ourselves a target of replacing all of this temporary buoyage with new permanent buoys and ground tackle. That’s 50 new buoys at £225 each.

We have had fantastic support from members already with offers of sponsorship of one, or indeed more, buoys (sponsors names, their organisations – or names of loved ones are permanently marked on each buoy).

But, there is a long way to go. If you would like to sponsor a buoy please, please email us at info@blakeneyharbourassociation.co.uk or speak to any of the trustees shown on the Contact Us page: http://blakeneyharbourassociation.co.uk/contact-us/

You’d think that that would be enough! Not so! The old fairway buoy has been removed and we have bought a new one which will go out in the spring. This together with a new number one buoy costs, at retail prices, £15,000. Norfloat, our supplier, brought the cost down to £10,000 and with anonymous donations (and I don’t mind admitting one from me) this has all been paid for!!

Which leaves us with one more, big, ambitious challenge. We really need more port hand markers in the main channel. Red buoys at £850 each – and we need six of them!

So it’s all hands on deck, man the pumps, shoulder to the capstan etc., etc. to raise the money.

The team will be knocking on each and every door they can think of with great sponsorship opportunities and fun fundraising events whilst trying to build ever stronger membership numbers.

We can canvass as much support as we possibly can but at the end of the day it’s offers of financial support and volunteering from you, the membership, that will allow the Association to keep the harbour in safe hands.

Finally, this year we are inviting existing and new members to think about the level of subscription they would like to make. Do you want to donate more than the basic £25 membership? If you have more than one boat, if you use the harbour a lot, if you’re a big family, perhaps what BHA does is worth more than that to you? That works the other way round too of course. There are those who genuinely can’t afford £25, perhaps who don’t have a boat but want to support BHA and we should allow those people to be members for nothing.

Joining BHA, making a donation or becoming a sponsor gives you a voice in the future of this delightful place, a voice in what BHA does and how it is run and spends its money.

Have a good winter. We will be in touch again shortly with more news at this fascinating time for BHA.

Jim Temple
Chairman