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Liverpool Cathedral to welcome the Boat of Hope this May

Following his successful solo Atlantic crossing, Bernie Hollywood OBE JP will present the ‘Boat of Hope’ exhibition to the public at Liverpool Cathedral from Saturday, May 27, to Sunday, June 4.

Bernie Hollywood, a social entrepreneur and charity guru from Liverpool, signed up for the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in order to draw attention to the growing rates of child suicide and depression in the UK and around the world. In what is known as the toughest endeavour ever, Bernie rowed 3,540 miles alone across the Atlantic Ocean, ending with his arrival in Antigua.

Liverpool Cathedral to welcome the Boat of Hope this May

Bernie was interested in seeing if it was possible to engage with kids and students through the creative arts and active adventure because it is a cause close to his heart and he has extensive personal experience with the struggles young people face with their mental health. The ‘Boat of Hope’ was built with the intention of starting a discussion about how people feel about mental health.

Over the course of the more than 100-day trip, Bernie encountered danger, mechanical difficulties, adversity, illness, injury, and loneliness. Despite this, he persisted in his resolve because he was determined to comprehend how lonely people can feel when they suffer from depression and low mood.

The boat rowed by Bernie Hollywood across the Atlantic, the ‘City of Liverpool’, was named in honour of his late father and grandfather, who spent their entire working lives at the Port of Liverpool. Measuring 7 metres x 2 metres, it will be available for visitors to view, resting at the heart of The Well at Liverpool Cathedral. 

Sue Jones, Dean of Liverpool Cathedral, commented:

“The Boat of Hope project, along with Bernie’s remarkable achievement, has shone a light on the importance of mental health and wellbeing in the youngest members of our society. Through their work with schools around the UK, Bernie has not only been able to tackle his challenge to cross the Atlantic but has also encouraged many young people to open up about mental health. We are pleased to be able to host this final chapter at Liverpool Cathedral.”

Bernie Hollywood OBE JP, Founder of the ‘Boat of Hope’, said:

“I am truly thrilled that the final stage of our hugely successful two-year Boat of Hope campaign is concluding with this exhibition in the majestic Liverpool Cathedral.

Our mission over the last two years was to successfully open as many conversations as possible with primary children on their mental wellbeing and with young adults on suicide awareness across the world, through creative arts & adventure. After my solo row and the work that has been done with schools in the UK, we are now here in my home city, with the unique opportunity for people to come and see the ‘City of Liverpool’ ocean-going rowboat on display alongside artwork produced by young people as part of the project.”

With the support of ‘Boat of Hope’ ambassador Natalie Reeves Billing, alongside her social enterprise Split Perspectivz CIC, the project has featured a host of activities and resources for children and young people. A children’s picture book, called ‘Bernie and Boatie’, was developed to engage primary school-aged children and is available to purchase from the Liverpool Cathedral shop. 

Natalie Reeves Billing and her team also worked to create 5000 child mental health boxes full of books and creative resources for primary school children across the Liverpool City Region during Bernie’s journey. Inside each was a competition, asking children to translate their vision of hope in words and art.  

The results of that competition are available for visitors to see in the collages and individual pieces of work displayed around The Well, alongside the ‘Boat of Hope’ exhibition. 

Visitors to Liverpool Cathedral can take a closer look at the ‘City of Liverpool’ from Saturday 27th May to Sunday 4th June. 

READ MORE: Natalie Reeves Billing releases new book ‘Bernie & Boatie’ to tackle children’s mental health crisis following the pandemic

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