A project to preserve irreplaceable historical data about pilot gig rowing has received the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group’s biggest ever donation.
Pulling Together the Past, which aims to safeguard the history of the sport in a new online digital archive, has been awarded £5,000 by the Steamship Group’s Community Fund.
The sum, which was handed over at the Men’s County Championships in Newquay on Sunday, is the biggest amount the Community Fund has ever given away.
The Cornish Pilot Gig Association (CPGA), which is leading the project, hopes it will capture the history and essence of the gigs for the first time.
Sam Hicks, Chairman of the Steamship Company’s Community Fund, said: “I am delighted the Community Fund has been able to support this venture. Gig rowing represents so many of the good things about our communities on Scilly, in Cornwall and beyond, and the CPGA has always shown a progressive approach in developing our sport for the future.
“However, this project recognises the colourful history of the gigs, boat builders, clubs and crews that have been involved over the years. I wish all those involved the best of luck and look forward to seeing the results.
“The islands have their own very special relationship with gig rowing, and the Steamship Company is a vital part of this history, transporting the gigs and passengers that travel to the islands each year for the World Pilot Gig Rowing Championships.”
Sharon Sandercock, Marketing and Communications Manager for the Steamship Group, said: “This is another fantastic demonstration of the support the Group is giving projects which are so vital to the islands and their heritage.
“Gig rowing is synonymous with Scilly, and incredibly important to the islanders, for whom the sport is part of their daily lives. It’s tremendous to see a donation like this being made which will go so far to enabling this project to go ahead and help a record of gig rowing to be preserved for future generations.”
All Cornish gigs built today follow the lines of the gig Treffry, a 32ft pilot gig built in 1838
Karen Beswetherick, Project Manager, said: “I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company on behalf of the entire gig rowing community for awarding the CPGA funding towards this special project.
“We are appealing to the rowing community to come forward with their own collections of photographs, films and artefacts to include in the project, lots of which I know are held on the Isles of Scilly.”
Applications to the Community Fund are open to voluntary groups or charities, schools and education establishments, community clubs or societies, and individuals undertaking not-for-profit projects for the benefit of the wider community.