On Wednesday 6 October 2021 Court Assistant Mr Andreas Bisbas represented the Company at the annual boat launch at Lyme Regis Boat Building Academy. The Shipwrights’ Company regularly supports LRBBA students through its Billmeir Award scheme which Andreas chairs and in 2020 awarded LRBBA a grant towards its rebuilding project. Andreas provided the following report on his visit;
Upon arrival at LRBBA I met with Will Reed the Director (presenting certificates right) and Tim Gedge the founder. Whilst being shown around by Tim I was introduced to one of the instructing staff called Mike who was a student there in 2002 and had been supported by the Billmeir scheme.
One student currently supported by the Shipwrights graduated today, Jack Carling (left in the kilt). He came over to greet me after the ceremony and expressed his gratitude for our support and described it as “life changing”. Both his parents were there and they also came over to offer their thanks for our support of their son. They were visibly moved by what LRBBA had given to him.
LRBBA became a charity about 18 months ago. Their intention is to be able to provide bursaries of 50% of their fees to at least one student on each course per year, which equates to about £25,000 annually.
To the rear of the BBA building is a courtyard which Tim Gedge says they would like to develop in order to build a two story structure which will provide accommodation on the first floor and a GRP workshop on the ground floor.
The ceremony was very informal and the camaraderie amongst the students, who range in age from 18 to 72 was very evident. The boats they produced were excellent, especially when bearing mind they only start building them half way through the 40 week course.
It was an enjoyable visit and the happiness amongst those graduating from the 40 week course was a joy to witness.