The last Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Newport Ship was held on Saturday 12 November 2016.  The speaker for the opening session was Mark Beattie-Edwards, Chief Executive Officer of the Nautical Archaeological Society.  The Chairman’s report is appended below the table of committee members

If you have the time and the inclination to join the Friends and stand as a committee member, we would be delighted to talk to you before the next AGM in September 2017.

The day to day management of the Friends of the Newport Ship is carried out by a Committee elected at each Annual General Meeting. The elected members of the Committee also constitute the Trustees of the charity. The Committee for 2016/17 is:


Role Person Email
Chair Phil Cox
Vice-Chair Alan Aberg
Secretary Robert Kenny
Peter Horleston
Other elected members Jeff Brooks
Jean Gray (Retail Coordinator)
Charles Ferris (Patron)
Lynne Crabbe
(Retail Coordinator)
Rhys Brooks
Lewis Griffiths (Ship Centre Events)
 Co-opted members Claire Dowd (Minutes Secretary)
Charlotte Vigar Social Media:


 Simon Hickman (Archivist)


To take the project forward to the new level required for the coming year, we are in urgent need for volunteers to act as PR & Marketing Coordinator, Fundraising Officer, Volunteers Coordinator and Education Officer – as well as lots of volunteers to help spread the word.  To discuss any of these roles, please call Phil Cox on 07411 149678 or email   If you can spare some time, please get in touch.  Thank you.


Chairman’s Report: FoNS AGM 12 November 2016

Welcome to the FoNS AGM at the Lysaght Institute – it’s much warmer here than at the Ship Centre – but I do hope that you have either visited earlier today or will do so after this meeting where we will open for an extra hour or more.  Next year we will seek to hold the AGM back in the Ship Centre at the end of September just a month after our official year end – that’s a challenge for the treasurer and our scrutineer!

In case you haven’t already been to the Ship Centre, we do have some retail stock here, especially for Christmas – including Calendars and Cards, and some ‘old stock’ at knock-down prices, and new items just arrived including gentlemen’s cufflinks.

We hope that you feel that you have been kept up to date with the happenings at the Ship Centre through our ‘new-look’ bi-monthly newsletters as well as the annual glossy SOS24 that members will have received along with the AGM papers.

Looking back over the last 12 months – some of the highlights

We have opened the Ship Centre on a regular basis: 2 days per week for the main season plus bank holidays, bringing in over 2100 visitors so far this year – hoping to top 2250 – almost double last year’s numbers.  This has only been achieved through the dedication and commitment of a few volunteers who keep turning up to guide visitors, run the retail cabin and help out around the Ship Centre.  I offer a special heartfelt ‘thank you’ to you all.

Getting out and about – we are spreading further: the Hanse Festival @ Kings Lynn; Pirates @ Brixham and Caldicot; Group Tourism events in London and at West Midlands Safari Park.

Toby and I have been out to give over 30 talks, presenting to over 800 people so far. Talks as far afield as Solihull and Stratford-on-Avon, but Toby scooped over 300 on a special visit to his home University in Oregon which did help to boost numbers.

Our iconic painting by Peter Power has become our new ‘de facto’ image for advertising.  Prints are still for sale, some are in stock – please see our retail team if you are interested.

Events at the Ship Centre: Coleridge in Wales – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner; re-enactment group visits including Cardiff Garrison and our own medieval barber surgeon, John Putley.

It’s all about drawing visitors to the Medieval Ship Centre, to support our cause.  It’s all about creating links with other societies

  • maritime heritage groups like
    • Albaola in the Basque Country of northern Spain where our ship was probably built
    • the Matthew (in Bristol)
    • the redeveloping World of Boats in Cardiff and
    • many others.
  • Links with other trading groups including the Hanse, and all the local volunteer-led heritage sites around SE Wales

I would also remark on a new positive relationship between the Friends of Newport Ship and Newport City Council.  Since the new leader of the Council (Debbie Wilcox) was elected and brought in her new Cabinet Minister for Culture, Leisure and Sport (Debbie Harvey) we have noted a more collaborative agenda that includes the Newport Medieval Ship and the Museum & Art Gallery.  This evidenced by the hanging of one of our Peter Power prints in the foyer of the Civic Centre which has the benefit of reminding city councillors of the existence of the Ship and her plight. Long may this continue!


Looking forward to 2017

2017 is the 15th Anniversary of the finding of the Ship: ideas are being discussed following the AGM to ensure that we celebrate in style.

We will be attending:

  • Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre 26-27 November
  • Digital Past Conference Feb 2017 – in the Riverfront Theatre where we want to fully exploit the opportunity to showcase our project. Toby will be presenting a keynote session, and there will be an organised visit to the Ship Centre on 16th February for delegates.

We will launch a new series of Summertime Talks and Events (May to September)

  • Music @ the Ship – a series of monthly concerts across all musical genres
  • Talks @ the Ship – on subjects relevant to our period including ‘Smugglers of the Severn Sea’ (Dr Evan Jones) and the Restoration of Hay Castle.

We will be hosting Special Events at the Ship Centre including Hector Cole (blacksmith), Lonnie Boggs (knotter), John Putley (Barber Surgeon) and more re-enactment groups

We will be arranging FoNS Trips including to the Mary Rose and Nantgarw


Future Funding

The Welsh Government has previously committed to support the project following direct approaches from FoNS to bring together WG and NCC.  This £20k pa for 3 years finishes as from this December and NCC are petitioning for an extension on the grant – we are hoping this will be something our politicians can press for in the first instance.  But we need to use all our efforts to encourage them, so please help with this as we design various campaigns to apply what pressure that we can.  It was public pressure that caused the Ship to be saved over 14 years ago, so let’s get behind the forthcoming planned actions.

FoNS will continue to raise funds towards our key objectives:

  • Raising the profile of our project
  • Ensuring that we maintain pressure on politicians at all levels to find a long-term home for our Medieval Ship
  • Supporting the project financially where gaps are identified, e.g.
    • contribution to the purchase of the climate control unit in the timber store
    • towards the publication of the conference proceedings from 2014
  • Maintaining the Medieval Ship Centre and updating, improving and expanding the displays to encourage visitors to visit again and see what’s new
  • Expanding the work of FoNS to bring Medieval Studies to a wider audience (including schools)

We will continue to seek to increase our membership, seek corporate sponsorship, expand our networks and bid to grant-awarding agencies for further funds for clearly defined projects


Finding a future home

There is a huge amount of speculation about the future home for the Newport Medieval Ship.  Most of this revolves around the 3rd floor of the Museum and Art Gallery and the adjacent former Reference Library.

This space continues to be explored.  We can report that survey work is complete and NCC now have an understanding regarding the condition of the building and while there are no serious concerns there’s a considerable amount of urgent repair work required. Nothing has been found that rules the building out as a possible candidate as a future home for the ship.  However we still need to understand the engineering implications that would be required to open up the third floor.

FoNS have offered to fund the necessary engineer’s report that is required to identify necessary modifications to the space – take out a roof-supporting column and increase the available height to ensure that the reassembled ship will fit, along with all the other items that we want to see displayed – including the Barland’s Farm boat that languishes away from public view in our timber store!

But all this continues to need support – your support, and the support of many more, those that we can encourage to join the Friends, to volunteer to help at the Ship Centre and out and about at events, to give freely of their time (for which I am incredibly grateful) and to bring our hopes and dreams towards reality.

I must include a heartfelt vote of thanks to the committee and all who have supported me as chairman over the last year, especially those who are keen to stand again for more of the same!  Thank you all.

We will come to the election of officers and committee members in due course.  There is plenty to do in running FoNS and everybody needs to pull together, take up a role and try to make a positive difference in these constrained times.  We need fresh eyes, fresh ideas and full commitment to improve our capability and capacity to take us into the future.  There is no room for passengers on this ship at this moment in time.

To fulfil our ambitions:

  • we need your active and positive support for the project – tell the rest of the world who have not yet heard about the Newport Ship,
  • we need your ideas of how we can do differently or better and I would welcome your ideas via email or letter,
  • we need your renewed efforts to raise funds, both in small ways such as using to make all your online shopping work for FoNS, the buying of raffle tickets for the Newport Uskmouth Rotary Draw which should bring us in up to £2,000, and for the big ideas that could raise the millions of £s that we will need to see our dream of a permanent home for the Ship being established in Newport, close to where she was found.
  • We need your support to lobby Newport City Council, the Welsh Government and UK central Government to continue to support this project. We will be in touch to give you the ammunition to use as part of a new campaign.

Finally – thank you all for coming and taking part in this AGM.  Please go on down to the Ship Centre after this meeting and boost the visitor numbers for the day.