Book launched to raise funds for Hythe ferry
A BOOK which tells the tale of a friendly seal has been launched to help raise £10,000 for the under-threat Hythe ferry.
Author and illustrator Simon Chadwick was approached by the parish council about the possibility of creating a book.
After adapting a story he had previously written for an event at Hythe library a few years previously, A Seal Swam in From the Sea was born.
Local businessman John Greenwood helped towards the cost of printing 2,000 copies which have now gone on sale at £6, with £5 from every purchase going to support the ferry.
As reported in the A&T, operator Blue Funnel Ferries had previously warned that the ferry had run out of money and the service would not be starting up again when lockdown restrictions ease.
The ferry was forced to stop operating when Covid-19 struck last year and a lack of income has made it impossible to cover the £60,000 routine maintenance required for it to start operating again.
Speaking about the book Simon, who used to use the ferry to commute when he previously worked in Southampton, told the A&T: “To lose the ferry now would be a major folly, so creating the book was a relatively easy way of me contributing something to keeping it running.
“I’d created the story three years ago for Hythe library to use in a story trail throughout the village.
“We’d had lots of sightings of a seal at the time alongside the pier so it seemed the perfect subject matter for the story.
"The seal is searching for a friend and swims up Southampton Water to encounter a cruise ship, a buoy, the ferry and the pier on its journey."
Simon added: “So far we have had orders from Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon, Sussex and Wiltshire, as well as various places throughout Hampshire. It’s been great to see how much people care about keeping the ferry running.”
Blue Funnel's warning over the future of the ferry has also prompted an online fundraising appeal to be set up by a local resident, which has seen around £15,000 donated so far.
Three councils pledged to provide £67,500 of funding to keep the vital service, which links Southampton and the Waterside, afloat. New Forest District Council, Hampshire County Council and Southampton City Council previously each confirmed they will give the service £7,500 a month for three months.
The book can be bought at the pier office, the Herald, Toys Ahoy and Oyster Financial Planning in Hythe. WH Smith Local in Dibden Purlieu and Sandra’s Florist in Holbury also stock it or it can be ordered online at Simon’s website www.ceratopia.co.uk