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– Newsletter 28th February 2009

Hi Folks !
It's been an “interesting” few weeks since our last newsletter – and we are now just a tiny step away from seeing the new ship sailing between Swansea and Cork in time for the 2009 summer season.
Read on for a round-up of events...

“Flash, Flash, I love you, but we only have fourteen hours
to save the Earth!”

Devotees of '80's films and rock music will recognise this quote from the Queen classic 'Flash Gordon'.

It's very appropriate for the ferry campaign right now.......

On Thursday, the Finnish Bank who own the Julia, granted us a final extention on the deadline for us to purchase the ship at our special price. We must have the funding in place well before the 12th March (and ideally within 7 days of today), otherwise the ship will be auctioned on the open market, bidding may well exceed what we are able to pay, and she will be sold to another bidder.

Although there is currently a downturn in the shipping market, there is no guarantee when another suitable vessel will be available, and the Swansea-Cork link will be lost for another year, and, possibly, forever.

Our team continues to pursue major investors, and the Pledge scheme continues apace – but this is literally our last chance for this year.

To make it easier for you to invest in the co-op scheme – we have a new on-line pledge system – (we know that the Pledge phonelines have been very busy, and this saves you the frustration of getting the answering-machine).
All cash invested in the co-op is protected by the value of the ship – so there is no risk to your investment.

If you have already pledged your investment – that's great, and we thank you.
If you haven't yet sent us your money – please do so a.s.a.p. - contact details are on the website.

“You keep me hanging on the telephone”
We have had a tremendous response to our Pledge Investment scheme – and we have nearly €2.5m pledged (of the €3m we need to secure the ship).

Currently we have three telephone hotlines (details on the website) – and, at times, they have been so busy that you will have reached an answering machine. We are sorry about this – and, in an attempt to streamline the Pledge process, we've designed an online Pledge area on the website – which explains the various options and amounts for investors, includes the presentation that was shown to folks who came to the Roadshows, an investing FAQ, and has all the necessary forms and information available for easy download.

Briefly – you can now invest from as little €1,000 euro (about 890 Sterling) or €5k (just under 4.5k Sterling)  up to the standard share of €10k (just under 9,000 Sterling). You can also create your own local syndicate with friends, family, colleagues to raise a total of €10k.
All the details and forms are on the website – please consider what you could do to help us restore the ferry.

On the strength of the tremendous response to our Pledge scheme so far there's no doubt as to 'IF' we can raise the €3m that we need – the only question-mark is 'WHEN'.
We must have your completed Pledges and funds within the week...

“I'll get by with a little help from my friends”
Over the past year that we've been running the campaign, I've grown to think of you folks out there in 'Newsletter-land' as my friends. Together we've shared the ups & downs of the campaign, the dark days when all that kept us going was our shared belief that the Swansea Cork ferry could sail again, and the celebrating of all the little achievements that have brought us to this point – where success at reintroducing the ferry that you all love and need is just a measly half-a-million euro away.

We have all invested a tremendous amount of time and energy to get to this stage – and I'm sure that, together, we can make the necessary final push to BringBackTheSwanseaCorkFerry!
Please help.

Other Ferry news......

“Living by numbers”
As if proof of your enthusiasm were needed – here's some vital statistics from the campaign...

Website 'hits' in the last two weeks ~ 8,631, and counting – that's 25 visitors each and every hour!
Website pages viewed in the last two weeks ~ more than 35,000
Total hits on the website since the campaign began ~ more than 60,000
Detailed messages of support on our e-petition ~ more than 3,500
Responses to our User Survey ~ nearly 1,000
We've had ten well-supported Roadshows and public meetings in the last two weeks – including a very successful two meetings in Swansea which were featured on national UK TV. (Many thanks to the whole team in Swansea, particularly Chris Green from ABP and Laura Windeatt from Golley Slater).

Surely, with all this support and positivity, we can raise the remaining cash ! (can’t we ??)

“I'd like to get you, on a slow boat to …..... Cork!”
Just to summarise the details of the new service....

The Ship ~ The Julia (was Christian IV, will be renamed Innisfallen) – has been described as a floating hotel – much larger and more comfortable than the old Superferry
The Sailings ~ Overnight, so you arrive at your destination refreshed and ready to continue your holiday or journey. Will sail for 11 months of the year – needs one month for annual maintenance.
The Operator ~ B&I (British & Irish Lines) – run by Capt Frank Allen, son of Charlie Allen who was involved in some of the early Swansea Cork ferries.
The Flag ~ Innisfallen will fly an Irish flag
The Catch ? - we need to find the missing €500k of Pledge Investment in order to make all this happen – can you help ?

“Don't go breaking my heart”
To get this close to success and then fall at the last hurdle would be heartbreaking -
not just for us at the Campaign, but for everybody in Cork, Kerry and the UK who depends on the ferry service for business or social reasons.
Please don't let all of our efforts be in vain – visit the website


and consider the various investing opportunities.
Ideally we'd like Pledges of €10k – but if you can set up your own syndicate (using the forms on the website) and pledge a total of €10k then that'd be equally grand.
If you can only spare €5k or even €1k (and we know times are hard) then we'll be delighted to accept it – but this does give us rather more admin overhead and timescales are tight.

Whatever you decide to do – please do it soon – the clock is ticking.

Thank you for your support – together we can make this happen!

Adrian Brentnall – Campaign co-organiser - 28/2/08

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