School pupils enjoy Humber cruises thanks to Hull Children’s University and ABP

11th April 2014

A group of over 70 schoolchildren from Hull got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see their city from the waters of the Humber when they took to the river for an educational cruise organised by Hull Children’s University and Associated British Ports (ABP).

This is the first time educational cruises have taken place on the river, and these particular trips have been designed to show the children just how vital the Humber Estuary is as a trading gateway, as well as help them learn more about their city and the organisations whose business depends on the river.

The first of five cruises involved 73 children from both Thanet and Foredyke Primary Schools who were guests aboard the Regal Lady, a double-ended steamer based in Scarborough that was built in 1930 and assisted with the Dunkirk evacuations.

Natasha Banke, deputy director of Hull Children’s University explained why the organisation was so keen to get children out onto the Humber to see for themselves how different the city looks from the water.

“Since Hull Children’s University was established in 1996 it’s been the dream of our founder Dr John Buttrick, to organise some educational cruises along our great river,” said Natasha. “Today that dream was finally realised and the children, teachers and mentors enjoyed a fantastic day’s sailing.”

The vessel sailed from King George Dock at ABP’s Port of Hull and took in Fort Paull, before turning around and journeying upriver under the Humber Bridge and making her way back to the dock.

Captain Phil Cowing is ABP’s Harbour Master Humber, he accompanied the vessel on each sailing and acted as pilot, helping the Regal Lady’s skipper Tom Machin navigate the Estuary.

Phil said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for local children to get out onto the Humber, learn about the Estuary and see for themselves just how vital it is to UK trade.

“When we heard what the Children’s University was planning we were delighted to be able to help and offer a berth for the vessel as well as pilotage. We also put the organisation in touch with John H Whitaker (Tankers) Ltd, who donated all of the fuel for the cruises.

“It’s a great idea and one that ABP is thrilled to be involved with.”

During the journey the children were able to listen to a commentary on the river and its significance as a trading route, as well as local points of interest such as the Humber Bridge, The Deep and the tidal barrier. They also heard a number of sea shanties from Hull Children’s University mentor Mike Proctor, after which they were challenged to compose their own shanties and sing them to the rest of the group.

Jo Machon is head of school at Thanet Primary. She feels the cruises are a unique opportunity for many of the children.

She said “We have worked with Hull Children’s University for some time and the trips they organise are always worthwhile. Cruises like this have never been organised before and it really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“The children have been able to learn about the importance of Hull and the port and it’s nice that these two schools are able to come together and develop a greater understanding of the city they live in. They’ve really enjoyed it.”

Courtney Richardson (10) attends Thanet Primary School and thought the cruise was a good learning experience.

She said: “We found out that Hull is a very busy trading port and it’s very important to the UK. I would definitely go again because I want to travel the world when I get older.”

Brad Andrew (10) also attends Thanet Primary School and thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. He’s thinking about becoming a fisherman.

“I enjoyed going out on the deck the most and getting splashed. I also liked learning that Henry VIII built Fort Paull.”