Today we remember the amazing accomplishments of STS Lord Nelson and her incredible service to the JST, as her decommissioning ceremony took place at Southampton’s Ocean Terminal.
Returning home following the Battle of the Barques, Nellie sailed into home port flying a 33-foot long decommissioning pennant from her main mast, one foot representing each year of service.
Accompanied by Tenacious, supporters enjoyed the spectacular site from various vantage points on Southampton Water before heading to the terminal where she was officially decommissioned.
As Duncan Souster, CEO of the JST, said: “Today is about remembering the amazing accomplishments of STS Lord Nelson and her service to the JST. Over the past 33 years, she has taken over 16,000 disabled people to sea; of these over 4,000 have been wheelchair users; covering 530,000 nautical miles on over 1,000 voyages; visiting every continent on the planet, including Antarctica; and provided nearly everyone who has been part of these adventures with memories of a lifetime”.
We’ve seen some amazing stories shared in the past few days on social media, after we invited supporters of the Trust to post their memories of Nellie.
- Hammie posted “10 days onboard changing the next 32 years of my life! So many friends & adventures”
- Craig said “An experience that will live with me for the rest of my life. Melbourne to Hobart in 2013”
- Similarly, Deborah commented “My first voyage on Nellie literally changed my life more than almost any other single event. The subsequent 10 voyages as watch leader during the 90s gave me so many everlasting memories and friends who I still meet up with after all these years”
- And Kumi shared “it is the people I have met and the friends I have made that I will miss most, along with the sheer pleasure of being part of a small team on a beautiful ship in a big sea”
- And demonstrating the lasting impact of this powerful experience, Sue said “I sailed on the third voyage of Lord Nelson’s career. Within 3 weeks of returning home, I secured a job and have been employed ever since. I enjoyed 30 further voyages as both voyage crew and watch leader. I turned my life around and I also met my husband.”
In terms of the future, Lord Nelson will tomorrow make her way to the historic port of Bristol where she will be sympathetically decommissioned in a manner than will keep open as many options as possible regarding her future use.
Duncan continues: “At this stage, no decision has been made regarding her long-term use and location – we’re considering all options and the Trustees will be more formally exploring them over the winter, with a view to making a decision next year.
“We have already been approached by ports from across the UK and further afield, along with a number of prospective partners, all keen to be part of our future plans. We will keep you updated on our progress in the months to come.”
Whilst the best possible long-term plans for Lord Nelson are being determined, Tenacious will continue to delivering the JST’s mission, working closely with partners and communities across the UK and adjacent sea zones to deliver the most impactful work that she can. In the months ahead, we see a tremendous opportunity to redirect some of the energy and resources that have gone into sustaining two ships, into ensuring that the experience and mission impact of Tenacious is as powerful as possible.
Please do get in touch with Andy Spark at Andy@jst.org.uk if you have any ideas or suggestions for Lord Nelson’s future use and / or if you would like to help maintain the vessel, as we are planning some light maintenance over the coming months.