Robert Hampton

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7th February 2010

Iris-ked everything for you
Posted by at 7.19pm | No responses | Liverpool

Various web sites have been buzzing with the news that the former Mersey Ferry, Royal Iris, has ended up half-sunken and derelict in a London dock.

Royal Iris tied up in London, 2006

Some people may struggle to understand the emotions here: on the face of it, it’s just a boat that took people from Liverpool to Wallasey. And let’s face facts, its design was never going to win a beauty contest. But for many Merseysiders, the Royal Iris is not just a ferry, it’s an icon of Scouse culture. This is mainly thanks to the regular cruises it operated during the Merseybeat era, where passengers would receive dinner and an afternoon’s entertainment from one of the leading Liverpool bands. Even the Beatles performed on board on a few occasions. It’s a very sad state of affairs to see it ending its days like this.

But look at the comments on the Liverpool Echo’s online report, most of which are a variation on the theme: “this is a DISGRACE! someone somewhere must do something”. Do a Google search for “Royal Iris” and you’ll find numerous internet forums on the subject, with people expressing similar sentiment.

I get immensely frustrated when I see these comments. I’m sure they are genuine and heartfelt, but I wish more people would get away from typing missives on web sites and channel their energy into something a bit more constructive and practical, like actually helping out.

This is a problem I experienced first hand with the Merseyrail class 502 unit. When pictures of it in a forlorn condition appeared online, people queued up to complain, criticise the train’s owners and generally mouth off, but when group to restore it was formed, how many people dug into their pockets or offered their time to help? Sadly, very few.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect people to drop everything, but even a small amount of time and money can make a difference, if enough people contribute. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned, from working with the 502 and now seeing the Royal Iris, it’s that you shouldn’t wait for other people to come to the rescue. Get involved and do something yourself!

PS: I should point out that although I am the treasurer of the Friends of the 502 Group, the above post is my opinion alone and does not reflect the group’s views.

Also, if anyone does want to rescue the Royal Iris, let me know where to send the cheque. 🙂

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