Lewis Folland and The Friends of LV 50
Lewis joined the Solent Steam Packet straight from school and soon demonstrated his abilities as a responsible, capable individual and crew member. As a younger crew member, his computer knowledge and social media skills became very useful to the older members of the crew. He became the group’s website manager and is responsible for maintaining and updating the website with the latest news and information so that the public can be as informed as possible. He has introduced an online booking facility which has seen passenger numbers increase from 1,200 in 2013 to an expected 3,000 plus in the 2018 sailing season.
Lewis has been able to expand the reach of the organisation thanks to his social media skills and the introduction of a Twitter account for SS Shieldhall. This has helped the ship to keep a high profile in the local and national maritime community and reach new and diverse audiences. As a younger member of the crew, he bridges the gap for many passengers who find him easy to relate to and communicate with when they are on board. Lewis is a multi-talented, sociable, charming and reliable volunteer and a valuable asset to the world of maritime heritage preservation.
Friends of LV50
The Friends of LV50 were formed in November 2014 from a small group of interested local volunteers who wished to promote the heritage and preservation of the lightship LV50. They began by discovering more about the history of the ship and as a result have been able to tell a compelling story which has been communicated to the public.
The group have put on a number of events, including Open Days and Heritage Days, to engage members of the public with the LV50. In 2018, she was opened for her first school visit which gave pupils an interactive experience of what life would have been like on board the ship. They have also organised more innovative events, such as music evenings, to attract wider groups of people to the vessel. The Friends promote the vessel at heritage events and are funding their own website and social media page. Visitors to the LV50 have come from far and wide, as far as Hong Kong in one case, and have come away with knowledge about this vessel’s previously hidden history.