New Port Director announced for Portsmouth International Port

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IMG 2374Staff at Portsmouth International Port are preparing to welcome Mike Sellers as new Port Director, following Martin Putman’s decision to retire after 28 years at the Port.

Mike has spent the last 20 years working for Associated British Ports, most recently as port manager at Grimsby and Immingham. Born into a family of dock workers in Hull, his entire career has been dedicated to shipping. Mike has held senior roles at a number of ports in East Anglia and Humberside.

Mike Sellers replaces Martin Putman, Port Manager for the last 21 years. Martin started out as Assistant Harbour Master at Portsmouth International Port in 1988, having previously worked at the Port of Felixstowe following a successful career at sea. Since arriving in Portsmouth Martin has overseen important changes to the business, and has been responsible for several multimillion pound investments in new facilities to benefit ferry, cruise ships and cargo operations.

Speaking about his new role at Portsmouth Intentional Port, Mike Sellers said, "I am tremendously proud to be offered the position of Port Director. Portsmouth International Port has an excellent reputation within the port industry, is Britain's best connected ferry port and I am very much looking forward to building on Martin and the team's work to continue to deliver growth and success for the Port, our customers and the city as a whole."

Portsmouth International Port is owned and operated by Portsmouth City Council. As well as being responsible for all shipping operations the council also owns MMD (Shipping Services)Ltd, one of the UK’s leading handlers of fresh imported fruit and vegetables.

Donna Jones, Leader of the Council said ''Portsmouth City Council attracted a really strong field of candidates for the position of Port Director to succeed Martin Putman on his retirement. I am delighted to announce that Mike Sellers has been appointed. Mike has extensive experience in the sector, most recently as Port Manager for the ports of Immingham and Grimsby. Mike had been with ABP since 2002, encompassing Operations Manager at Lowestoft and Deputy Port Manager roles at Ipswich and Hull and Goole. Prior to that Mike spent ten years working for an independent stevedoring company. Mike will be visiting the Port during the autumn and will officially commence employment with Portsmouth City Council in November.’

Most recently Mike Sellers has been heavily involved in the development of the Immingham Renewable Fuels Terminal, the world’s largest biomass handling facility. He brings with him experience of a wide range of shipping knowledge, his last port overseeing the movement of 50 million tonnes of cargo each year.”

For further information please contact Emma Gaisford/Julie Blackwell on 01256 631 696 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Battle of Jutland survivor brought into Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

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Marking 100 years nearly to the day since the sinking of her parent ship, HMS Falmouth at the Battle of Jutland, unique survivor Armed Steam Cutter (ASC) number 26 has arrived at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Built in 1910, ASC 26 marks an important chronicle in our maritime history. The only powered vessel aboard HMS Falmouth (a Town Class Light Cruiser), she was present at various sea battles between 1914 and 1916 including the battles of Jutland, Heligoland Bight and Dogger Bank. She is one of only two known Royal Navy survivors of the Battle of Jutland, HMS Caroline in Belfast being the other.

ASC26 1 webHMS Falmouth survived Jutland but was torpedoed in the North Sea on August 19, 1916. After an epic salvage attempt she finally sank south of Flamborough Head in the morning of the 20 August 1916. Her ship's boats, including ASC 26, were found four days later by the trawler Buckingham and towed 68 miles to Immingham where they were handed back to the navy. The Buckingham’s men were rewarded £250 in recognition of the fishermen abandoning their fishing trip and salvaging the valuable boats.

Peter Goodship, Consultant Chief Executive of Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust (PNBPT), said: “We are privileged to have this opportunity to save for the nation such an important survivor of the First World War, and in particular of the Battle of Jutland. She is still in good enough condition for a full restoration and she’ll be a valuable addition to our collection of small boats from both world wars and the Falklands conflict. With the addition of ASC 26, our collection will eventually become known as the Memorial Fleet.”

Nick Hewitt, Head of Heritage Development at The National Museum of the Royal Navy, said: “It’s extraordinary to think that this little wooden boat bore witness to the greatest naval battle in history aboard HMS Falmouth, and we are very fortunate that she has been brought to Portsmouth for restoration in the battle’s centenary year.”
The ASC Trust, set up by a group of Cornish enthusiasts, bought the vessel with the intention of achieving her restoration and operating her in Falmouth. Sadly, the costs of a commercial restoration (quite significant for a steam vessel) and the complex operating requirements associated with grant funding, made this impossible.

In order to ensure the restoration could take place, the trustees worked hard to find an organisation with the proven ability to carry out the vessel's restoration and the necessary back up facilities for its operation. They identified PNBPT, a charitable organisation responsible for the conservation and re-use of the buildings in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. PNBPT also owns the Forgotten Craft exhibition of small naval boats in Boathouse 4 (the building itself an iconic survivor of the Second World War) and those boats afloat on the adjacent pontoon.

ASC 26 will have a home in Boathouse 4 while she is reconstructed to full working condition, including a new boiler and her existing, original steam engine. Her reconstruction will involve PNBPT staff, the Boathouse 4 volunteers, and students of the International Boatbuilding Training College Portsmouth.

When she is complete and coded to carry passengers, visitors to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard will be able to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of this 106-year old vessel back in action.


Great Runners Welcome Here

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The Great Run Company is launching a new scheme designed to help build the relationships between businesses and great runners in the cities where we host our Runs, and we would love you to be involved.

This year’s Great South Run will take place on the 23rd October and over that weekend in excess of 60,000 people will come into the City, as 25,000 runners arrive, bringing with them their friends and family.

What is it?

Its called Great Runners Welcome Here and the idea is simple; participating companies put forward an offer of their choice e.g. free drink with a sandwich, half price entry etc. Our runners then receive a notification from us with information about the special offer and can then go and claim it from the participating company around the time of our events.

Why get involved?

The Great Run Company brings thousands of runners and supporters into city centres every year during event weekends. Providing special offers as part of this scheme is a great way for your business to attract new customers while receiving promotion via our extensive online channels; but best of’s totally free to join!

How to sign up?

All you need to do is apply for the ‘Great Runners Welcome Here’ poster to display in your window (using the link below), tell us what your offer is and when it’s valid for and we will do the rest.

Visit to apply and to read further information on this great scheme.

Has your business got what it takes?

If you fancy an alternative team building challenge, or are looking for ways to get fit, have fun or raise money, then why not get a team together from your work place and take on the Great South Run Business Challenge? The 10 mile run takes place in the heart of Portsmouth on Sunday 23 October. For more information please visit:

For more details contact Colin Murphy at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call 07525 732 421

GSR2016 Business Challenge E Flyer


Centenary of Coastal Forces to be celebrated with a planned sail-past of heritage craft

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The very special history of Coastal Forces boats, known as the “Spitfires of the Seas”, is to be celebrated at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to mark its centenary, with a planned sail-past on Thursday, August 25.

Five Coastal Forces boats, each with a unique story to tell, are scheduled to take part at 12.30pm before berthing on the pontoon next to Boathouse 4, which has strong links to the Coastal Forces.

The cathedral-sized attraction’s Forgotten Craft exhibition celebrates the roles small boats have played in the history of the Royal Navy.
Veterans who have served on Coastal Forces boats will be in attendance for the event, as well as other descendants of those who have served on them.

Captain Trevor Robotham RN, of the Coastal Forces Heritage Trust, said: “The centenary of Coastal Forces celebrates a branch of the Royal Navy which played a significant part in the naval success of both world wars. The brave young men who manned these fast attack craft made an extraordinary contribution to naval warfare. They operated in the darkest of nights in flimsy heavily armed craft, attacking the enemy at very close range. Their history from the sinking of a major Bolshevoic Cruiser in 1919 by a three manned 40 foot Coastal Motor Boat is a tremendous story which is now rightly celebrated.”

The Coastal Forces was born from the idea of Coastal Motor Boats (CMB) during the Great War. A group of young officers in Harwich wanted to build a small but fast attack motor boat which carried torpedoes and 100 years ago exactly, the first six Coastal Motor Boats were delivered to the Royal Navy.
The CMB flotillas had been disbanded by 1922 and were replaced by Motor Torpedo and Gun Boats.

The very young men who served in Coastal Forces manned craft that were wooden, heavily armed carrying ammunition and high octane fuel as they went into attack naval enemy at close range.

Coastal Forces played a prominent part in both world wars and the people who served in the Motor Torpedo Boats, Motor Gunboats and Motor Launches gained a greater number of distinguished service awards than any other branch of the Royal Navy.

Arriving at the Historic Dockyard in the morning of August 25 are HDML 1387, known as Medusa from her post war service, HMS Smiter, MTB 102, HSL 102 and MGB 81.
Medusa was a navigational guide for the Normandy Landings. MTB102 served in the Second World War both at Dunkirk and Normandy, and the HSL 102 was a rescue launch for aircrew ditched in the sea during the same period.

HSL102 was inspected by King George and the Queen (later HM The Queen Mother) during the Second World War having rescued 30 to 40 aircrew in the space of a couple of weeks; The Queen Mother returning to relaunch her following her restoration in the 1990s.

HMS Smiter is a P2000 patrol boat currently serving with the Royal Navy. MGB 81 took part in D-Day and served in Robert Hichens’ MGB Flotilla. Robert Hichens was the most decorated Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve officer of the Second World War with two DSOs, three DSCs and three Mentions in Despatches.


ARISE funding gives boost to Portsmouth charities

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Age UK Portsmouth - panini grill webDean Bryant, Kitchen Manager at Age UK Portsmouth, and kitchen staff, Tracy and Natalie,
making paninis and toasted sandwiches with new grill

Five local charities have been awarded funding this summer from ARISE – the charitable scheme founded by Gunwharf Quays. The latest round of grants has enabled Solent MS Therapy Centre, The LifeHouse, Age UK Portsmouth, Wessex Cancer Trust and The King’s Theatre to purchase much needed equipment and materials to continue improving their facilities.

Solent MS Therapy Centre, which provides support to people with Multiple Sclerosis, has replaced its therapy couch thanks to the scheme. ARISE granted the centre £1,000 to upgrade its 10-year-old treatment equipment, ensuring people affected with MS can receive physio in comfort.

Two charities have also been able to improve their kitchen equipment with a combined funding of £1,500. The LifeHouse, based in Southsea, has purchased two new ovens to help serve hot meals to local homeless people and those suffering with addiction problems. Age UK Portsmouth has also updated its café kitchen with a selection of appliances including a panini grill, enabling the team to create nutritious and appetising meals for vulnerable and isolated older people in Portsmouth.

Colin Wilding, General Manager at Gunwharf Quays, said: “Equipment is often crucial to the day-to-day running of charities. This summer’s ARISE grants have given a much needed upgrade to vital equipment, some of which were up to a decade old!

“In the last four years the scheme has funded over 60 local charitable organisations, bringing the total to over £43,000. We look forward to welcoming the next wave of applications and helping more organisations provide essential support and care to our community.”

Carol Elliott, Business Development Manager for Age UK Portsmouth, said: “Our café is open to all members of the public, Monday to Friday from 8:45am to 3pm, and we are delighted to have received this funding so that we can offer more varied meals.”

Further equipment was purchased by the Cosham branch of Wessex Cancer Trust, which was granted £700 to soundproof one of its therapy rooms. The King’s Theatre used a £625 boost to support its Community Engagement project with three primary schools in Portsmouth. Materials have been purchased for the school children to design a costume for the theatre’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk.

Funding from ARISE is awarded through an application process in which any group, organisation or individual within the Portsmouth postcodes PO1 to PO17 can apply year round, for tangible goods or projects that have a lasting impact for the community.

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