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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Year of Maritime Lyme draws to a close

News release from Carole Halden, Marketing Manager of Lyme Regis Museum:

Lyme Regis Museum’s last Fossil Hunting Walk of 2011 on December 29 brings to a close an eventful year of activities celebrating Lyme Regis’s maritime life, culture and heritage. By year-end, a staggering 367 local events will have been featured in Maritime Lyme’s promotional leaflets and on its website. Combining these with the activities of the Fossil Festival, Lifeboat Week, and Regatta and Carnival Week produces a grand total of some 600 maritime-linked events in Lyme over the last 12 months

The idea for a year-long promotional campaign was initiated by the museum and developed at public meetings in 2009-10. Happily, 2011 was the perfect choice of year, as it coincided with the local RNLI’s 150th and the Lyme Regis Sailing Club’s 90th anniversary celebrations. During the year the museum, with boatbuilder Gail McGarva, ran a major maritime heritage project based around the lerret, an historic Dorset fishing vessel. The year also saw activities promoting the Spirit of Corinth, Lyme’s entry in the current Atlantic Challenge rowing race, as well as a number of special art exhibitions and workshops with maritime themes. One workshop, Photographing Maritime Lyme, run for the first time by local photographers Peter Wiles and Maisie Hill, was so successful that it will be repeated next year

The statistics behind the Maritime Lyme promotion speak for themselves: 20,000 leaflets distributed throughout three counties, over 50 news stories announcing events, and 1,630 visits to our website, representing almost 3,500 web-pages viewed. The website ( has worked so well as a marketing tool that it will be kept active next year, with information about what happened in 2011, as well as links with local websites that will be listing 2012 Lyme events.

Mary Godwin, Museum Curator said ‘The year of Maritime Lyme has been a great success, but we couldn’t have done it without the hundreds of hours and expertise contributed by Karol Kulik, who put together the events programmes and maintained the website, plus our designers Richard Hartnell and Kathryn Jackson, and Bob Brooker who built the website for us. Thanks to them we have been able to run a great project that has encouraged different parts of the town and different people to work together. We’re also especially grateful to the project’s sponsors who enabled us to market the project so effectively: HIX Oyster and Fish House; Lyme Regis, Charmouth and District Hotel and Restaurant Association; Lyme Bay Holidays; Martin Diplock; the National Trust; and One Bite Communications. And a big thank you is owed to the local newspapers and journalists who reported on the Maritime Lyme events and, of course, to all the groups and individuals who took part in the project.’

The Lerret Littlesea on the Town Beach, Lyme Regis, on January 3 at the start of the year of Maritime Lyme. Built by Gail McGarva Littlesea is a 17-foot wooden boat resembling the 17th century fishing boats native to the Dorset coast. This double-ended clinker vessel was constructed without drawings, taking the lines of the last sea-worthy lerret of 1923 named Vera.

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