Bosses at the region’s largest privately owned haulier say they are delighted to back the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta Blyth 2016.
Northumberland County Council, in partnership with the Port of Blyth and Sail Training International, is hosting the prestigious Regatta which will be one of the largest events ever held in the county and the only Regatta in the UK this year.
After the Regatta – which takes place from Friday, August 26, to August 29 – the Tall Ships head off for a 500 nautical mile race leg to Gothenburg with 80 trainees from Northumberland taking part.
Haulage firm Fergusons is marking its 90th anniversary by sponsoring the event and offering support, including sponsoring 13 trainees aged between 15 and 28 to join the tall ships.
Alan Ferguson, executive chairman of Fergusons of Blyth, said: “The trainees have been selected by Fergusons from applications that were invited both within the company and from charities working in Blyth.
“They include Ferguson employees and young people from Bad Apples Dance in Blyth, all with little or no sailing experience, but with a great sense of adventure and huge enthusiasm for this amazing opportunity. We look forward to following their progress both leading up to the event and during the Regatta itself.”
The town of Blyth and Fergusons have a rich history together. The company was originally founded in the town in 1926 by Matt Ferguson, Alan’s grandfather.
Selling his house to purchase the original Fergusons ‘Bean Truck’, Matt delivered parcels between Newcastle and Blyth and did local removals.
The ‘Bean Truck’ has been renovated by Fergusons – it is the one of only three in the world – and will be on display at The Tall Ships Regatta at the site of the birthplace of the company.
Alan’s father, Eddie Ferguson, worked as an engineer in Blyth during the Second World War, before joining Fergusons in 1946.
The warehouse side of the business started when the company stored items for the then new power station being built in Blyth. Eddie expanded the company, adding depots in Felling and Manchester as the fleet grew to 100 vehicles.
Many generations of families born and raised in the town have worked with Fergusons, firstly at Bath Lane, then at Kitty Brewster from 1976 and since 2008 at Northumberland Business Park, Cramlington.
Alan joined the company in 1970, aged 16, and under his leadership the business interests continue to expand in transport, warehousing, logistics, removals, self-storage and property.
Alan said: “We are extremely proud to still be very much a family firm, with many local families working with us throughout our existence and the spirit of the Tall Ships Regatta reflects our own family and community values.
“As a major employer we recognise the importance of the sense of belonging and working together and we are delighted to be supporting 13 trainees on the race to Gothenburg.”
“We continue to invest in the future and we look forward to welcoming everyone to Blyth this August to celebrate our 90th year, a year that promises to be a record year for us and to enjoy the wonderful Tall Ships Regatta.”
The North Sea Tall Ships Regatta Blyth 2016 is taking place over the August Bank Holiday and will feature five zones of free family entertainment including music and theatre, a Crew Parade and a Parade of Sail, and fireworks in the evenings.
Coun Val Tyler, cabinet member for Arts, Leisure and Culture at Northumberland County Council, said: “It is wonderful that Fergusons of Blyth is on board for the Regatta to celebrate their 90th anniversary and sponsoring this major international event which is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of people to the town and Northumberland.
“Fergusons has always been a major part of Blyth life and a successful business in the county, and we are all looking forward to delivering a fabulous family-friendly event for residents and visitors in August.”
For more information about the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta Blyth 2016, visit www.facebook.com/tallshipsblyth2016 or on Twitter @TallShipsBlyth or via www.tallshipsblyth2016.com
For further information on Sail Training International, visit www.sailtraininginternational.org