This month’s Coffee Morning – Cancellation

Unfortunately this month’s Coffee Morning (which exceptionally was to have taken place this month on a Tuesday, 30th May) has had to be cancelled because of illness in the speaker’s family.

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Coronation Big Help Out

If you live in or close to Sheringham and were moved by the appeal to consider volunteering, we can suggest a couple of possibilities. Acting as a steward to welcome visitors to the Fishermen’s Lifeboat Museum or the Peter Coke Shell Gallery offers the chance to meet some interesting people. We aim to open both daily between 11 am and 3 pm and each slot is two hours long. If you think this might appeal and you would like a bit more information, please make contact through our Secretary in the first instance (see Contact Us, above) and Sharon, who organises the steward’s rota, will answer any questions and show you what is involved. Even an occasional slot would be a great help and if after making enquiries you think it’s not really for you, we promise not to put you under any pressure.

The Big Help Out was prompted largely because, after the disruption caused by Covid, many charities including ourselves found that some of our pre-pandemic volunteers did not resume volunteering, for a number of different reasons, so we are not currently able to open for as many hours each week as we would like.

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AGM 2023

The Society’s AGM was held on 27th April. We are very pleased to announce that Barbara Emery is now the Society’s Chairperson, with Peter Strudwick continuing as Vice Chair. Barbara is a member of the Emery boatbuilding family (Lewis “Buffalo” Emery built the Henry Ramey Upcher lifeboat), has volunteered as a steward in the HRU boat-shed for many years and is a former Treasurer of the Society. Chris Duxbury continues as Secretary and Barry Blacklock as Treasurer. We are also pleased to welcome four new members to the Management Committee, (in alphabetical order of surname) Colin Boyd, Susan Cowling, Kathy Moody and Shelley Pigott.

Our finances are in a healthy state and we look forward to the future with confidence. For a full account of our activities during 2022 see Annual Report above.

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Review of the Fishermen’s Lifeboat Museum

We are grateful to Clifford Willett for this Google review of the museum:

The highlight of this small free museum is a well-preserved late 19th century lifeboat. You’ll also find some artefacts from Sheringham’s fishing industry and info about local historical characters. I was in and out pretty quickly, but if fishing history is your thing, the volunteers seem happy to share their knowledge with visitors.

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New Book

Three members of the Emery family have come together to write a book about their family’s boat building business in Sheringham. The book, entitled “I Wanted a Boat – So I Built One” was published by Poppyland Publishing on 1st September 2022. The authors are justifiably proud of their family’s boat-building achievements and have delved into a mass of preserved photographs, records and memories which are reproduced in the book. The story starts in 1850 when Lewis “Buffalo” Emery built his first boat and finishes just over a hundred years later when Lewis’s great grandson, Harold, completed the last. In the years between, Emery boats had such a good reputation that they were acquired by fishermen up and down the East Coast, from Kent to Yorkshire.

For a chance to view Lewis “Buffalo” Emery’s handiwork, a fine testament to his skill, visit the Fishermen’s Lifeboat Museum at Sheringham where the Henry Ramey Upcher, the lifeboat he built in 1894, is preserved and is on display during the spring and summer. Group visits can be arranged at other times.

Two of the book’s authors, Malcolm standing and Michael, with the lifeboat.
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Great review of the shell gallery

We are very grateful to Nelson Hammell, a visitor from the USA, for the review of his visit to the shell gallery recently posted on Instagram – “I had the best time this afternoon ….. what a very special visit”. For the full review follow this link:

Hot on its heels came a recommendation from the famous fashion designer, Lulu Guinness OBE, “If you don’t follow @petercokeshellgallery on Instagram you are missing out on so much wonder.”

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Finding the SS Commodore

Sheringham photographer Chris Taylor, who also forms part of the current RNLI lifeboat crew and is a member of the Sheringham Shantymen, had a long-standing ambition to find the remains of the SS (steamship) Commodore.

The SS Commodore, carrying a cargo of coal, was blown ashore just to the west of the town during a storm in November 1896. The Henry Ramey Upcher (HRU) lifeboat, preserved in the Fishermen’s Lifeboat Museum, described on this site, was launched to rescue the crew of 14 and three Sheringham fishermen who had been taken aboard to offer support. The HRU had been in service for just over two years. As the storm intensified the Commodore was wrecked and subsequently was blown up by Trinity House as it constituted a danger to shipping.

Chris knew roughly where the Commodore’s remains were but had never found them until he chanced upon them recently. His discovery made the local and national news and he was even interviewed on an American television station. Views of the wreck can be seen in the promotional video he has produced about the Henry Ramey Upcher lifeboat, see above.

The winter of 1896/97 was an exceptionally stormy one. In the January following the wreck of the Commodore the slipway from the RNLI lifeboat station (now Oddfellows Hall) was washed away in a storm, rendering the lifeboat station no longer usable. In the same month the Henry Ramey Upcher lifeboat carried out its most famous rescue, of the crew of the brig Ispolen, which was carrying a cargo of ice from Norway and was also wrecked off Sheringham.

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