Shields Ferry ship celebrates 30 years of service across River Tyne with celebrations including 45p fees
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An iconic Shields Ferry is celebrating 30 years of service, having carried more than seven million customers since she was first launched.
Nexus, the public body which owns and operates the Shields Ferry, said the Pride had given outstanding service over three decades, making in excess of 300,000 crossings.
She was one of the last ships to be built at the Swan Hunter yard in Wallsend before it was closed.
The Pride’s landmark anniversary is being marked with a series of events, including school visit to learn the history of the vessel, and a special event, Pride on the Pride, which will see local Pride Radio station broadcasting live on board on Thursday 27 July, when Nexus will roll back prices for a day, allowing customers to travel for 45p, which was the adult fare on the Ferry in 1993.
Customer Service Operations Manager at Nexus, Mandy Francis, said: “The Pride of the Tyne has given us outstanding service and reliability down the years, and we are delighted to be marking her 30th anniversary.
“Since 1993 she’s carried more than seven million customers and has providing vital connectivity between North Shields and South Shields.
“We’re marking this landmark’s birthday with a series of events on board, which will celebrate diversity, her years of service and the proud heritage of the vessel.
“She undoubtedly has a special place in everyone’s hearts, especially given that she was built on the River Tyne at the Swan Hunter shipyard. She was one of the last ships to be built on the river.
“Our crew are really fond of her, and there is great affection for her length of service and reliability. She was built to last, and has many more river crossings to do in the years ahead.”
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Cllr Margaret Meling, South Tyneside’s Lead Member for Economic Growth and Transport, said: “The ferry is a key part of our visitor offer, bringing people in and offering opportunities for a great day out on the Tyne.
“Millions of passengers have travelled on the Pride of the Tyne and even after three decades’ service, she is still going strong, providing vital connectivity between communities in North and South Tyneside.”
Long serving Ferry Skipper Chris McGuinness was one of the crew who helped to bring the Pride of the Tyne into service in the summer of 1993.
He said: “She’s a brilliant boat. She’s reliable in all weathers and the team really like working on board her. The Pride is definitely my favourite Shields Ferry.
“There is huge pride to mark her 30th year in service, and there’s still a few crew members here who have been working here for that entire period.
“When I think back to 1993 and the day she was lowered into the water up at the Swan Hunter yard and brought over for, it’s hard to believe that it’s been 30 years. The old girl still gives us excellent service. I’m immensely proud of her.”