Wellington sea shanty to boost Atlantic Wrekin Rowers in leaky boat

Boat holed, leaking, and delayed in the middle of the Atlantic? What you need is a lusty sea shanty to lift the spirits.

The Wrekin Rowers, pictured before setting off
The Wrekin Rowers, pictured before setting off

And on Saturday Wellington business folk, along with whatever members of the public feel inclined to join in, are to swing into musical action with an open air rendition in the town centre of a specially written shanty to boost the morale of a team of local adventurers currently crossing the mighty ocean in a rowing boat in a bid to raise £100,000 for charity.

The Wrekin Rowers, a four-man team from Wellington, suffered a setback when the spike of a marlin – a giant fish which can grow to up to 14ft long – pierced their boat.

But after running repairs to the leak, which they plugged using a sandwich box, they have been battling on in their 3,000-mile journey, part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Michelle Busby, who manages the Gratitude cafe in Duke Street, said: "We thought it would be a nice way to boost their morale, for all the businesses involved to get together in The Square to sing the song, and have a big whiteboard with the lyrics on so any member of the public can join in.

"It will make it a public event to let them know that we are behind them."

The sea shanty singalong, which will take place in The Square at Wellington at noon on Saturday, January 15, will be recorded and will be sent to the team electronically so they can view it on the high seas during their epic journey.

It will not be the first time the Wrekin Rowers have been given a sea shanty boost from the local business community.

"Emma, the manager of Specsavers in Wellington, had this nice idea of singing the sea shanty – which the Wrekin Rowers themselves wrote – and we did it together, with all the businesses singing a couple of lines, and we sent it off to them by the internet as a nice way to send them off at the start of the journey," said Michelle.

The Wrekin Rowers team comprises Stuart Shepherd, Martin Skehan and brothers Gary and Stuart Richards, who had been hoping to arrive at Antigua on January 19 or 20 - but following the encounter with the marlin the latest projection is they will arrive at 6.22am on January 23.

So far they have raised more than £79,000, with the final total to be split between the RNIB and Severn Hospice. They are aiming to raise £100,000.

Donations can be made at wrekin-rowers.com/donate.

And for those hoping to join in the "Wrekin Rowers Sea Shanty" on Saturday, here are the lyrics to give you a chance to practise:

On Shropshire’s Plain where we do dwell

Haul away Heave Away

Stands Wrekin Hill, We like it well

We’re bound for English Harbour

Haul Away you Wrekin Boys

Heave Away Haul Away

Haul Away you’ll hear us sing

We’re bound for Antigua

To Row the Ocean we do dare

Haul away Heave Away

Tossed around from here to there

We’re bound for English Harbour

For Severn Hospice team of Care

Haul away Heave Away

All our efforts we will Share

We’re bound for English Harbour

Haul Away you Wrekin Boys

Heave Away Haul Away

Haul Away you’ll here us sing

We’re bound for Antigua

In dark of night We’re not blind

Haul away Heave Away

A Clear Course we will find

We’re bound for English Harbour

Our fight for sight we know well

Haul away Heave Away

We’ll pull our oars across the swell

We’re bound for English Harbour

Haul Away you Wrekin Boys

Heave Away Haul Away

Haul Away you’ll hear us sing

We’re bound for Antigua

Must leave behind our Family

Haul away Heave Away

Re-unite most Happily

We’re bound for English Harbour

Nelson’s Dockyard far away

Haul away Heave Away

From ‘Round the Wrekin’ we must stray

We’re bound for English Harbour

Haul Away you Wrekin Boys

Heave Away Haul Away

Haul Away you’ll hear us sing

We’re bound for Antigua

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