The Matthew, Bristol’s well-known replica of the ship from the 1400s, are needing support more than ever during the coronavirus pandemic.
The ship is ordinarily open to the public for free drop-in visits, public trips, private hire and school trips, but, due to the crisis, has had to postpone all of its work with people from throughout the city and beyond.
Volunteers at The Matthew, who last year received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service as recognition for their dedication, have also had to stop visiting the ship.
Only the captain of The Matthew, Rick, has been on board and maintaining the ship, which is close to his home.
“Because a lot of our volunteers are in the vulnerable group, and all over the age of 50, they had to stop coming to The Matthew immediately,” explains Hannah Morris, who is one of two members of office staff currently working from home.
“We have been involving them where we can, such as capturing their stories in writing of when they first started with The Matthew, something we’ve wanted to do for a long time.”
While the lockdown continues, the team are sharing more information about The Matthew on their social media, including its history, its ties to Bristol and what trips on the ship are like.
A major issue for The Matthew team currently is loss of income. Hannah says: “We have lost a lot of income by giving out some refunds, not being able to receive donations on the ship or run trips.
“We close annually for maintenance in December to mid-March, so we were just gearing up for a new season of trips, school trips and visits up until late November.
“We are now at risk of not receiving any income for a long time.”
For anyone unable to make a monetary contribution, Hannah urges people to sign up to their mailing list, follow them on social media and leave a Google review: “We love seeing your feedback and photos!”
In regard to returning to The Matthew, Hannah says: “This is something we are currently considering very carefully. We need to be able to ensure the safety of both the public and our crew.”
In the mean time, expect fun facts and trivia about the ship and its history, and share your memories and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Main photo: Neil James Brain/The Matthew