Pride in Fleetwood is very much the latest buzzword, and quite rightly too. I was honoured to have been asked to host an evening of entertainment last Friday at the Marine Hall (pictured), which had been organised by Steve Newsham at Regenda in the town.
Steve’s company is ploughing some cash into Fleetwood and it was a terrific opportunity to ‘take stock’ of what the town has got in abundance, a sense of pride that runs deep through the generations, and feeling of belonging that is rare in communities these days.
The evening kicked off with a terrific line up of local talent. We had poems, local bands and the wonderful pairing of local historians Dick Gillingham and Dave Pearce who talked (and sang us) through the history of the port right back to Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood’s day through to the many stories and tales to come from the port’s historic fishing industry.
Now this is where the evening made a particularly special impression on the full house at the Marine Hall.
We watched a short film featuring interviews with local people with a story and a memory to recall. There was the old chap who remembered, as a boy, playing in North Church Street, the trawler man who remembers the beauty of being out at sea at 2am and how much he loved his job. Then we heard from a lady whose grandad had been lost at sea. Her mum had told her the story when she was a little girl. He’d worked on the ‘Doris’ trawler.
“He never came back,” said the lady. At which point the Liverpool Philharmonic took her phase and turned it into a five-note tune which was wound into a magnificent 45-minute concerto. “He never came back... never came back... never came back,” echoed around the Marine Hall.
The trawler man recalled seeing whales at sea at 2am. “Just beautiful,” he said.... and the Royal Liverpool Phil turned his two-word statement into musical art.
This was such an amazing performance and something I’d never seen done before. Hats off to composer John McHugh and the people who took part in this.
The audience, fired up gave a standing ovation. You could tell they love Fleetwood deeply. This sort of emotion runs deep in a fine town.