News from Ivan Corlett for July 2015

  • Save our Sidney

    13:19 23 July 2015
    By Ivan Corlett

    To misquote one of the most memorable phrases of the Sixties, ‘Coniston, we have a problem’.

    Don’t worry, Gondola is not about to sink, but Sid the Sea Serpent is poorly - we’re sending out an SOS to help Save Our Sidney.

    To be more accurate, it’s an SOS to ‘Swap our Sidney’ because what we really need is a new Sid.

    Sid, in case you don’t know, is the golden sea serpent figure that sits on the prow of Gondola giving the boat an extra star quality.

    Gondola at Brantwood jetty

    We couldn’t ever envisage Gondola without Sid. It would be like a Rolls Royce without the Silver Lady. Like the Houses of Parliament without Big Ben. Like Marilyn Monroe without her beauty spot. Like the Venus De Milo without arms. Ok, we’d better scrub that last one, but you know what I mean, Gondola just wouldn’t be Gondola without Sid.

    Unfortunately Sid is no longer a young serpent. Time in the open air on Coniston Water has taken its toll. Despite the fact that he still looks ok on the surface, underneath there’s too much rot for us to be able to patch him up again.

    Sidney the Sea Serpent out on the water

    The only answer is to source a new Sidney, but the problem we have is a lack of funds. A new Sidney doesn’t come cheap and it’s not an amount that can be absorbed within the general running costs of Gondola.

    So we’ve set up a fundraising drive to raise £5000 for the new Sid and we’re looking for donations. We’ll have a collecting box on board Gondola and in other locations dotted around Coniston. We’ve also adopted 21st century technology to help generate funds – you can now donate by TEXT.

    Donate by text

    Text GOND15 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 towards the restoration of Gondola’s Sidney the Sea Serpent. If you would like to donate a different amount simply replace the ‘£5’ with the figure you wish to donate - £1, £2, £10, £20, etc.

    [National Trust Registered Charity Number 205846. 100% of your donation will go towards the replacement of Sidney the Sea Serpent. Please obtain the bill payer’s permission. NT Supporter Services Centre 0344 800 1895.]

    Front view of Sid

    Just look at that face – how could you resist!

News from Ivan Corlett

Photo of Ivan Corlett

Steam Yacht Gondola Crewman.

While working as a Fix The Fells volunteer on the upland paths, cold & soaked through, I saw the beautiful sight of Gondola way below on Coniston Water, so with a background of deep sea marine engineering and steam I thought that would be a nice, warm, dry place to be!

I applied to join the crew in 2008, got the job and have never looked back. I absolutely love it, but the real pleasure is meeting and talking to so many lovely people from all around the world.